The Mother of an Olympian

 by Ali Smith

 Heather Moyse is now a household name because of the Olympics.  Last month, she and her partner Kaillie Humphries barreled down the hill in their bobsled to a second consecutive gold medal win at the Sochi Winter Games.

While her hometown of Summerside, PEI and the rest of Canada urged Moyse down the hill as fast as possible, her mother Sharon just wanted her to make it safely to the bottom. 

 “She kept us on the edge of our seats until that last race.” Sharon said.  “It was exciting to see if they could defend their gold again but I’m always nervous when she’s going down.  There’s an element of danger into it…The medal is a secondary thing, as far as I’m concerned.”

 We know Sharon Moyse as the former UCW President for Maritime Conference and an active member of the United Church, but others know her for different reasons.  “Lately I’m the mother of an athlete and a bit of a celebrity,” she says, “but Heather hasn’t changed much.  She’s still our little girl. . . .When she was in school, we were at all the basketball games and track meets.  We pretty much followed her everywhere.”

 Despite fear from political turmoil, Sharon followed her daughter all the way to Sochi, Russia for this winter’s games.  While Sharon is extremely pleased with Heather’s performance as an athlete, it is not success that makes Sharon most proud. 

 “My ever most proud moment has nothing to do with bobsledding,” Sharon reflects.  “Heather has always worked with disabled children.  She directed a camp here in PEI and has had a special place for them.” 

 After university, Heather worked in Trindad for three years, developing sports programs for the disabled and establishing a camp for the hearing-impaired, which was attended by children from seven different Caribbean islands. 

 Sharon says, “It’s not winning at an athletic event but my daughter’s character that fills me with pride as her mother.”