She shattered track records while hurtling down an ice chute at 150 km/h at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Heather Moyse (MSc OT 2007) and her teammate Kaillie Humphries won gold for Canada in bobsled – a.k.a. Formula One on ice. The native of Prince Edward Island is now back to her first love: rugby. Lisa Bryn Rundle talks to Moyse, who is preparing for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in August.
Tell me about your Olympic experience.
Our goal for the whole games was to stay focused and still have fun.… We’d warm up with music, and just dance. It was a reminder that it was going to be OK no matter what.
And we purposely didn’t look at the times of the other teams. We had no idea whether the person behind us was eight-hundredths or three-tenths of a second behind us. We didn’t find out until the next day that we beat the silver medallists by almost a full second. That is generally unheard of in bobsled.
In bobsled, a tenth of a second is huge.
Yes. In the last Olympics, Helen Upperton and I lost a podium spot by five-hundredths of a second! That’s what brought me back. I couldn’t let that five-hundredths of a second go.
What is your job as the person at the back of the bobsled?
My job is to get the sled going as fast as possible into the track. But that’s not just about the start time – you really want to have the best velocity, accelerating as you go into the track because that’s what the driver has to gain on.
What attracted you to bobsled? Were you a kid who loved to throw yourself down hills on a Krazy Karpet?
No. I didn’t do bobsled until I was 27. I wasn’t attracted to it at all…. Bobsleigh Canada actually asked me when I was 22 and my first thought was, ‘No way am I wearing a uniform that is head-to-toe spandex.’
You’re also a rugby player. Rugby is such a tough sport. How do you do it all?
Well, bobsled is pretty tough too. It’s not very comfortable in the back of the sled. You get tossed around. There’s a tendency to crash…
So I definitely didn’t pick the glamorous sports. But growing up for me, rugby was the cool thing to do. In PEI, rugby’s huge.
And no spandex. What’s the weirdest star moment you’ve had since the gold?
The weirdest thing is when friends want to get my autograph. And I’m like – I sent you a birthday card last year. You have my autograph.
A U of T lab is working with actors, writers and directors on how they could harness AI and other emerging technologies to generate new ideas and – just maybe – reinvent theatre