Island’s Olympic hero arrives home on P.E.I. to fans and family

Staff ~ The Journal Pioneer
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Family, friends greet Heather Moyse at Charlottetown Airport

CHARLOTTETOWN - Family, friends and fans cheered as Summerside’s Heather Moyse walked through the arrival gate at the Charlottetown Airport on Wednesday.

Sharon Moyse, left, and her husband Dr. Cryil Moyse, pose with their daughter Heather as she returned home to P.E.I. a week after winning the gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh event in Sochi, Russia.

“I’m home,” the gold medal-winning Olympian exclaimed raising her arms before walking to her parents, with a few tears being shed by both parties.

“It’s just so good to be home,” she said afterward.

Dr. Cryil Moyse and his wife, Sharon, hugged their daughter with excitement, knowing she was home safe.

“It’s always great to have our children home, ” said Cryil.

The parents of the winning athlete in two-man bobsleigh event, had just arrived days earlier on Feb. 23, after being in Sochi, Russia to witness their daughter win her second gold medal.

Sharon said they were just happy to see their daughter compete as originally they weren’t sure if they would be flying to Russia.

“It was exciting. It was wonderful to be there and there was no sense of danger.”

For now, they’re glad to have their daughter back home to relax.

Heather was excited to see them too.

She said everyone saw how excited she was they were there to greet her.

“That was a pretty emotional experience and I’m really glad I was able to share that with them, because this gold medal is just as much theirs. But to come home and have them when I walk in is, it’s home.”

She said it felt really good to have their support and there has always been at least one of them there whenever she comes back to P.E.I.

After seeing her patents, the jetlagged athlete reflected on what her new gold medal means to her.

“It’s different,” she said about the medal, compared to her 2010 Vancouver gold.

“Winning in Vancouver was coming up as the underdogs.”

Her trip to Vancouver was about proving to the rest of the world that you deserve the medal, she said.

“But when you do it twice it shows that the first one wasn’t by accident, it wasn’t by chance and it’s really difficult to do a back-to-back gold medal in a sport that comes down to hundredths of a second. It’s not a tournament and it makes it that much more gratifying.”

And while she competed in her event, she knew residents in P.E.I. were cheering her on.

“I knew the support I had going into the season. I knew the support I had from the last games and I’m really excited to see the footage of stuff that’s happened since I’ve been gone.”

Now that she’s back, she’s planning on relaxing before heading back to Toronto.

“Everyone is asking about Rio and PyeongChang, and those seem so far away. Right now I just want to enjoy this moment.”

She said she has the chance to inspire and motivate people with her success.

“The qualities it takes to be successful as an athlete are the same qualities it takes to be successful in business, or in any industry.”

Until that time however, Heather plans on catching up on sleep, saying she felt tired from the Games.

“I am excited to sit in a nice hot bath and let my muscles relax from everything,” she said, later joking about how a picture she tweeted of herself bathing in a garbage bin went viral while in Russia.

Espom salt baths are a tradition to Heather and there were no bathtubs available in the Olympic mountain village she stayed at.

“I had done ice baths years ago with rugby teams in big garbage bins, where you fill it with ice then put water in it.”

After hunting for one, she found a clean bin, had it disinfected and sanitized and took a hot espom salt bath, and tweeted a picture of herself in the bin.

“It was so funny. I didn’t think it’d come across as that crazy.”

She said the response was phenomenal, with messages popping up within minutes of tweeting the picture.

It mirrored the response at the Charlottetown airport as Summerside deputy mayor Bruce MacDougall drove to the province’s capital to greet Heather.

The City of Summerside is hosting a celebration honouring Moyse at 6 p.m. Friday at Eastlink Arena. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Moyse will be piped in by the College of Piping, as emcee, CBC’s Bruce Rainnie, will introduce dignitaries and the guest of honour, who will address her supporters.

Misty Water will perform for the crowd prior to and after the event, while the P.E.I. Potato Board, for which Moyse is brand ambassador, will hand out 2,500 10-pound bags of potatoes, free, to those in attendance.

There will also be refreshments, including baked potatoes, served.

After the official ceremony, Moyse will meet with fans and supporters to take photos and sign autographs.

“Her hometown can help her celebrate,” said MacDougall. “Two gold medals is a great accomplishment. Heather is a great ambassador for not only Summerside, but P.E.I., and Canada.”

Organizations: College of Piping, Charlottetown Airport, CBC P.E.I. Potato Board

Geographic location: P.E.I., Russia, Vancouver Sochi Summerside Toronto Charlottetown Canada

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