Heather Moyse, best known as Olympic bobsleigh champ, inducted into World Rugby Hall of Fame
CALGARY — Heather Moyse is best known in this country as a two-time Olympic gold medallist in bobsleigh and co-flagbearer for the closing ceremonies at the 2014 Sochi Games.
But before Moyse ever set spike on the track at Canada Olympic Park, she dominated on the pitch for Canada’s national rugby team.
On Wednesday, Moyse is flying to Rugby, England, where she will be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
“It’s overwhelming,” Moyse, 38, told Postmedia Monday from the Bahamas, where she is speaking at a corporate event. “It’s surreal. It’s probably the exact thing I (said) after winning the gold medal: I don’t know when it’s going to sink in or what it actually means.”
Widely considered one of this country’s best all-around female athletes, Moyse joins former men’s team captain Gareth Rees as the only Canadians in the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
A native of Summerside, P.E.I., Moyse made 22 appearances for Canada in 15’s rugby. Blessed with a magical finishing touch, she dazzled in the 2006 and 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cups, scoring a tournament-best seven tries both times.
She broke her ankle in Canada’s final game of the 2010 tournament and took up cycling as a form of rehab. Two years later, she biked for Canada at the 2012 Pan-American Track Cycling Championships. Then she helped Canada win rugby silver in the 2013 Women’s Sevens World Cup.
Versatile? You bet.
In spite of what some may consider her advanced age, Moyse had the chance to audition for Canada’s rugby sevens team at the Rio Olympics.
She politely declined.
“That was a very conscious choice made to some people’s dismay and disbelief,” she said. “The reason I didn’t pursue Rio is that I love what I’m doing now.”
Moyse is a successful public speaker, and she recoiled at the idea of moving across to the country to the national-team base in Victoria when her family is out east.
“At this point of my life, it just didn’t make sense to me,” she said. “I’m glad I wasn’t swayed to think what other people think is important.”
But don’t rule out seeing Moyse with a maple leaf on her chest in the near future. She believes retirement announcements are often silly, given that so many people quit only to eventually come back.
Blessed with incredible raw power, Moyse could no doubt still push a bobsled at a world-class level — and the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics are just around the corner.
“I won’t ever discount anything,” she said. “Never say never. I always leave the door open.”