Gold medal for Moyse erases mem­ory of near miss at 2006 Games

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY ROBIN SHORT

rugby team saw the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup bronze medal snatched away by France with a 17-8 win over Canada in Ed­mon­ton.

She gets an­other crack at the Rugby World Cup this sum­mer in Eng­land. But first bob­sled. Oh sure, Clara Hughes, the great Cana­dian speed­skater, gets all the ink for her pure ath­leti­cism, a medal win­ner in both the Win­ter and Sum­mer (cycling) Olympics.

But qui­etly, Moyse has emerged as one of Canada’s top two-sport ath­letes, fe­male or oth­er­wise.

And now she’s got the gold trin­klet to prove it.

“ The fourth in Torino left me with some un­fin­ished busi­ness,” she said. “I mean, you’ve got to be kid­ding me, to lose by that much?”

She stepped away from the track to com­plete a mas­ters de­gree, un­sure if that close call was enough to draw her back to the sleds.

“But I de­cided one day I’m not done with this sport,” she said. “ That nig­gling fourth place brought me back, no doubt.”

By now, her story has been well doc­u­mented.

A for­mer track star at the Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo, where she won 10 On­tario uni­ver­sity ath­let­ics medals, Moyse was re­cruited to bob­sled by McGill Uni­ver­sity track coach Den­nis Bar­rett, who was work­ing on be­half of the bob­sled na­tional team.

On the way to Van­cou­ver, her work­outs have be­come the stuff of leg­end, push­ing cars through­out Summerside’s park­ing lots.

“I’m driven,” she said, no pun in­tended.

For Moyse, it’s a hair-on-fire speed thing. Push as hard as you can, jump in, head down and brace for the ride. Bring it on. “If you don’t want it to go fast,” she says, “ you’re in the wrong sport. Peo­ple talk about the crazy speeds. That’s the point.”

Still, there was a cer­tain amount of fear she con­fronted on the first cou­ple of vis­its to the now in­fa­mous Whistler track, the ‘el­e­va­tor shaft’ that claimed a Ge­or­gian luger the first day of the Games, the track some spec­u­late might have got­ten the bet­ter of a fear­some Cana­dian medal hope­ful Melissa Hollingsworth, a twotime World Cup cham­pion who wound up fifth in skele­ton.

“ To be hon­est,” Moyse said, “I was scared of this track. I will not deny that. I was so ner­vous, you could cut the ten­sion. Real ten­sion.”

So now she has her sights on rugby, and Eng­land this sum­mer.

If bob­sled was a chal­lenge, rugby is the pas­sion.

It’s the sport she played in high school, just as her sis­ter and brother did back in Summerside. The sport that ev­ery P.E.I. kid, she said, can’t wait to play in the spring, to get out and roll around in the mud.

“I def­i­nitely don’t pick the glam­orous ones, do I?” she joked this week. “But for me, rugby’s fun. I love it.

“Bob­sled­ding started as a chal­lenge. I can’t say I loved it be­cause I hadn’t even been down a track be­fore I com­mit­ted to it. It was all about how well could I do at it.”

That’s been an­swered. And there aren’t many such queries around the rugby pitch.

The girl who dou­bles as a full­back and wing­back in the na­tional team pro­gram was Canada’s lead­ing scorer in the 2008 Hong Kong Rugby Sev­ens tour­na­ment. At the World Cup in ’06, she was Canada’s lone all-star in the Ed­mon­ton tour­na­ment.

It’s way too early to start think­ing rugby just yet, she said, but she will be in Eng­land, sore shoul­der or not. “ That’s the plan,” she said. Only ques­tion now is whether she can make it two-for-two.

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