Humphries, Moyse kept things loose en route to Olympics gold

Canada's Kaillie Humphries (right) and Heather Moyse are surrounded by family after their gold...

Canada's Kaillie Humphries (right) and Heather Moyse are surrounded by family after their gold medal win in bobsled at the Sanki Sliding Center in Sochi, Russia, Feb. 19, 2014. (DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency)

Steve Buffery, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

SOCHI, RUSSIA - Seconds before they exploded down the track with an eye on gold, Canadian bobsled gold medallists Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse turned to each other and started singing.

The Canadian team trailed their American rivals — Elana Meyers and Lauryn Williams — by .11 seconds and needed one more great run to have any chance of defending their gold medal from the 2010 Vancouver Games.

What they also needed was a little levity to break the pressure. Hence the singing.

“It’s pretty hard to stay really, really stressful when someone just turns to you and goes, (in a singing voice) ‘This is girl is on fire’ in the middle of the quiet start house,” Moyse said with a laugh.

“It just eases the tension a bit,” said Humphries.

“It does,” added Moyse.

“And then we had a little dance party for about 20 seconds and then we stopped and refocused again,” said Humphries.

“People underestimate the 20-second dance parties,” added Moyse.

It certainly worked for them. In their final run, Humphries and Moyse nailed a time of 57.92 to put the pressure on the Americans, who went last. The Americans responded with a chaotic run (58.13) and Humphries and Moyse were Olympic champions once again.

Sitting at a post-victory media conference Thursday, Humphries, the Canada 1 pilot, and Moyse, the brakeman, reflected on what makes their partnership so great and what gives them such consistency. Commitment, power, great piloting, all those things contribute of course.

But just as much, they believe, is the fact that they’re close friends. And that is what has helped them win two Olympics and various World Cups and world championship titles.

“You could do this job and not be friends,” said Calgary native Humphries. “Heather can come in, we can push, I can drive, it can be pretty separate. But the tour is long. We’ve been away from home since Dec.27 and without having that family and that backing on (the World Cup) tour to get through the stress and the pressure of just being away, and being with people you don’t necessarily chose to be around, it makes for a very hard and long season.

“It makes it not fun in essence. So, can the job be done? Definitely. 100%. Could it be as successful? Absolutely not.

“Really this is my family,” Humphries added, nodding towards Moyse. “And you learn to grow and love and adapt and respect the other person and really kind of get inside their heads. I know how she’s feeling sometimes before she officially knows it and I know she does the same to me.

“We have developed this sense where we know not only what we need in order to be successful, but also what each other needs,” added Moyse, a native of Summerside, PEI. “And sometimes it’s just, when you’re down after a heat or two . . . it’s not really a pep talk, but just reminding the other person that you have complete faith in their abilities. And no matter what the end result is we’re going to leave everything on the line and just leave happy with that final run.”

Humphries, 28, has said that she is almost certainly going to return for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But, at 35, Moyse is less sure — not only because of her age, but the Toronto resident is also a key member of Canada’s women’s rugby team, and she’s also a national-level cyclist. But if Humphries has her way, Moyse will be back for a shot at a third gold medal in Korea.

“If I have to beg in four years, that will happen,” Humphries said with a laugh.

The duo has been on a whirlwind tour of media conferences and appearances since winning their gold Wednesday. The only chance they really had to celebrate their gold was in the car ride down from the mountains of Krasnaya Polyana.

“We had an hour,” said Humphries. “We had beer in the car for sure (they weren’t driving), blasted some music. We had a little car dance party and a little sing-a-long. We had enough time for us to really live in the moment slightly before a lot of media chaos happened. Yeah, we really just lived it up.”

Hopefully they’ll be doing the same thing in four years.

 
 
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MOYSE SHRUGS OFF INJURIES

Heather Moyse has taken a beating participating in the other sport she loves, rugby.

The Summerside, PEI, native has been on Canada's women's rugby team for years and, in fact, was the leading scorer at the 2006 Women's World Cup. She also tied for most tries at the 2010 World Cup.

But being involved at a high level in two sports (Actually, three. Moyse has also made the Canadian cycling team) has taken a toil on the Toronto resident, who, along with her bobsled partner Kaillie Humphries, defended their Olympic bobsled gold medal on Wednesday night. Moyse broke her ankle in the final game of the 2010 World Cup and in Nov.2012, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in her right hip. Still, despite those setbacks, she returned to partner with Humphries this season on the World Cup bobsled circuit, a return one Bobsleigh Canada official described as "Batman to the rescue", to which Moyse responded with: "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na ... Batman!" (The old Batman TV show theme music).

The 35-year-old Moyse said that, even though Humphries wants her to return for the 2018 Winter Olympics and go for the Olympic threepeat, she is not at this point ready to give up rugby or cycling. She might even try something else.

"It's the challenge. The bigger the challenge, the harder the challenge, and the more people who don't think it's possible, the more I want to prove them wrong," said Moyse of her drive to compete the highest level in so many sports. "Maybe that's a bit of the red-headedness in me, I'm not sure. But knowing I had to have surgery is what made me probably work harder in rehab and train harder than I knew anybody else would. The day after surgery I was on a stationary bike, just for five minutes to make sure I wasn't going to get any scar tissue. A few weeks after the surgery I had ordered this big, massive flotation suit and I put all vanity and pride aside and I went the local pool and I began to do walking drills in the pool.

"When you're determined to overcome something like that (hip surgery), it kind of becomes fun," she added. "I just wanted to see how good I could get. I wanted to see if I could actually come back and push Kaillie in the World Cup season and dominate the circuit again."

Mission accomplished.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

twitter @beezersun


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