HALIFAX - When Heather Smith-Dacey found out she’d be part of a sexy magazine shoot with some of the country’s most beautiful athletes, she couldn’t wait to tell her mom.
Her mother Elaine was elated but still a little bit confused.
“Do they know you’re 40?” a laughing Smith-Dacey recalls her mother asking.
I said: “‘I’m assuming they do but I’m not going to tell them, either.”
That was in March, and in April the former multi-time Nova Scotia women’s curling champion was whisked off to Las Vegas’s Bellagio to be part of Sportsnet Magazine’s The Beauty of Sport edition.
Fast-forward to today and the final jaw-dropping edition can be found on newsstands, along with an online version.
Among these 28 blessed bodies are 23-year-old world cup skier Erin Mielzynski decked out in a skimpy white tank top paired with matching denim shorts. Another page boasts a shirtless and showering scene of Olympic gold medalist paddler Adam van Koeverden.
Looking none out of place is a bikini clad Smith-Dacey on another page, revealing a figure worthy of a woman half her age.
She’s absolutely thrilled with the result. On a larger scale, she says her photos represent a changing opinion of how curlers are viewed: as true athletes, not oversized rock tossers.
“I’m proud they chose a curler to be part of this,” said Smith-Dacey. “I think that says something about where our sport is headed.”
Myles McCutcheon, Sportsnet Magazine’s photo editor, was part of the edition’s selection team and said the mother of two fit the bill perfectly.
“She really does have that nice mix of beauty and athleticism,” he said.
Her secret: a balanced, gluten free diet, lots of yoga and weight training. Great genes help too.
“My mother looks fabulous. But health and wellness has always been a top priority in my life. I’ve been disciplined about it and it’s always been a big priority for me. I do it for my sport but also to live my life with energy every day.”
The oldest of all the featured athletes by at least eight years, Smith-Dacey is proud of her body and the rest of the athletes who join her in the magazine.
“They want to showcase Canadian athletes maybe in a way they haven’t been showcased before. You see the grit they show in their chosen sport but they wanted to show the beauty of the sport.”
She admits van Koeverden caught her eye, especially.
“He photographs well, let’s just leave it at that.”
Besides, she says there’s nothing wrong with being rewarded for perseverance, discipline and plenty of hard work.
“I’m a big proponent of being the best version of you. I’m proud of the fact that I’m 40 and that no one ever guesses me at that. There’s power in that, in feeling good about yourself.”