Canadian Olympian Heather Moyse’s impressive career as a multi-sport athlete has created a resume that few can compare, and that’s before mentioning her off-field accomplishments.
Hailing from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Moyse competed for Team PEI at the 1997 Brandon Canada Games and the 2001 London Canada Games as a sprinter in athletics.
Five years after her final Canada Games, Moyse was in Turin for her first Olympic Games in 2006 on a different track. At 27, Moyse, using her speed and strength of her legs, competed with the Canadian bobsleigh team in the two-person event as a brakewoman.
“Sport is the ideal medium for development, whether it's the development of individuals, communities, provinces, or nations,” she said. “Without realizing it at the time, the Canada Games helped prepare me for the ins and outs and possible distractions when competing in a large multi-sport event such as the Olympics.”
Moyse came up short of the podium in fourth place during her first run on the biggest sports stage in the world. However, the Vancouver 2010 home Olympic Games propelled her and her partner Kallie Humphries to a gold medal. The momentum continued as she and Humphries earned back-to-back gold medals on the track at Sochi 2014.
Moyse was not only earning gold medals for Team Canada on the world stage in bobsleigh at this time. She also wore the maple leaf proudly for the Canadian rugby team. Along with athletics, Moyse had been playing rugby since university. Moyse beat and tied individual try records in each tournament while competing with the national team in the 2006 and the 2010 Rugby World Cup, respectively. She helped bring a silver medal home to Canada in 2013 at the Rugby Sevens World Cup.
In 2016, her dominance on the pitch and passion for the game earned her the title of the first Canadian woman and the second Canadian ever to be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Her laundry list of achievements doesn’t stop there. Moyse also competed for Team Canada at the Pan American Games in track cycling, making a multi-sport athlete of four.
The Canada Games helped her find the enthusiasm and confidence that followed her to other sports and parts of her life. She said being able to see fellow athletes from across Canada broadened her horizons.
“I think the Canada Games was inspiring to me because of how it showed just how connected we all are across the country. It is easy to get caught up in our own stuff, in our own provinces, and the rest of the country seems so far off... But really it's not. We are all connected,” Moyse said.
“A multi-sport event with athletes from all across the country is a remarkable reminder of that. The Canada Games inspired me to travel and to experience other places and ways of life.”
And Moyse has. She has been involved charitably in her local community in PEI and the broader international community. Moyse continues to help inspire people through sports and beyond through foundations like Right to Play, True Patriot Love Foundation, Hope Sports, and Camp Triumph. Her volunteer work has brought her devotion of helping others to Mexico, West Africa, and more.
Moyse was named to the Order of PEI in 2014 after her second gold medal at the Olympic Games in Sochi. She also received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2012, as well as the inaugural Randy Starkman Olympian Humanitarian Award in 2014.
She will be honoured for her hard work, passion, and ability to spark greatness in sport and beyond in her home province at the 2023 Canada Games Hall of Honour.
“Those Canada Games were a stepping stone for me without even realizing it. Yes, I might have two Olympic gold medals in the sport of bobsledding. I might also be in the World Rugby Hall of Fame, but I didn’t go to the Canada Games for those sports. I went for track and field – I did the 100m and 200m dashes. And I did not win. I did not medal, I did not stand on the podium,” Moyse said over Instagram. “But that experience was an opportunity for development and growth that took me into a whole bunch of other things I’ve done in my life, not to mention the Olympics and the rugby World Cups.”
By using her training as an occupational therapist, powerful public speaking skills, and uplifting words as an author, she aims to help people step outside of their comfort zone so that they grow in all aspects of sports and life. And she has a message for the next generation of athletes and leaders looking to follow in her footsteps. “Whatever you’re doing now, you might not be the best at it. You might be somewhere in the mix in the middle, or you might also be terrible. But whatever you’re doing you can use this opportunity [at the Canada Games] as a time for growth, a time for personal development, and who knows, this might actually be preparing you for something that you’re going to crush down the road.”