(Photo : AP Photo / Morry Gash)
(Photo : AP Photo / Morry Gash)

Bobsleigh: Why the return of two-time Olympic champion Moyse is exciting

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Heather Moyse has announced her return to bobsleigh just five months before PyeongChang 2018.

After successfully defending Olympic gold three and a half years ago with pilot Kaillie Humphries, Moyse decided to leave the ice track. However, the opportunity and challenge of helping Alysia Rissling reach the podium in PyeongChang brought her back.

“I’m not motivated to go back and just try and win another Olympic medal but I am motivated by the idea of helping someone else win their first,” explained Moyse in a video she posted on YouTube.

WATCH: Why Moyse decided to return to bobsleigh

Here’s why Moyse’s recent announcement makes the lead-up to PyeongChang 2018, even more exciting for bobsleigh fans.

The Background

Heather Moyse (L) and Kaillie Humphries (R) were selected as Canada’s closing ceremony flag bearers in Sochi.

In the world of women’s bobsleigh, Canada has established itself as powerhouse, winning three Olympic medals, including the two gold to lead all countries. Moyse and Humphries are responsible for putting the nation on top, after claiming Olympic titles at both Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.

Bobsleigh Canada’s deep pool of athletes

Gold medallists Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse and silver medallists Helen Upperton, and Shelley-Ann Brown celebrate their medals for the women’s two-man bobsled at Vancouver 2010 on Feb. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Many Canadians will remember seeing two red maple leafs on the Olympic podium in Vancouver, where Humphries and Moyse won gold ahead of the silver by Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown. With only five months until the next Winter Games, Canada’s pool is looking strong once again and here’s why.

Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz holding up their trophies for the overall World Cup victory at Lake Koenigssee Germany February 26, 2016.

Humphries has spent the last three and a half years working towards making history, trying to be the first Canadian athlete to win gold at three consecutive Games in a non-team sport. After teaming up with Melissa Lotholz for the 2015-16 season, the pair took home the coveted crystal globe awarded to the duo with the most points on the World Cup circuit.

Related: Humphries pilots change in women’s bobsleigh

Since then, the women’s pool has gotten deeper with pilot Rissling and brakeman Cynthia Appiah moving onto the World Cup circuit fulltime in 2016-17. Humphries spent the pre-Olympic season competing with both Lotholz and Appiah, reaching the podium with each brakeman. Rissling surprised at the PyeongChang 2018 test event, finishing as the nation’s top sled with Appiah, as the pair took home bronze.

Looking ahead at the Olympic season

Third placed Canada’s Alysia Rissling, right, and Cynthia Appiah pose for a selfie after the medal ceremony for the women’s competition of the Bobsleigh World Cup at the Alpensia Sliding Centre in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, March 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

With the next World Cup circuit kicking off in early November, Moyse only has about two months to prepare for the upcoming season. In that time, she’ll try to earn a spot on the team for a potential ride with Rissling. Humphries will likely use the Olympic season to find out which partnership will give her the best shot at a PyeongChang 2018 gold medal.

L-R Genevieve Thibault, Cynthia Appiah, driver Kaillie Humphries and Melissa Lotholz at the World Cup in Lake Placid on January 9, 2016.

In addition to the female brakemen who competed on last year’s World Cup circuit, Bobsleigh Canada has other athletes vying for spots on the Olympic roster, including Rio 2016 100m hurdles finalist Phylicia George, who recently moved to the national training centre in Calgary.

With two strong pilots and several brakemen in the mix, fans could see any combination of sliders compete at PyeongChang 2018.