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Bobsled champ Kaillie Humphries seeks release from Canada to compete for U.S. after harassment claims

Ben Weinrib
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
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More than a year after she filed harassment claims against Bobsleigh Canada, two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries is suing the national governing body to earn her release, CBC Sports reports.

If she earns her release, Humphries plans to compete for the United States. She is marrying American former bobsledder Travis Armbruster on Saturday.

Humphries is the only driver to win consecutive gold medals in the two-woman bobsleigh. After winning in 2010 and 2014, she earned the 2014 Lou Marsh Award winner for the top athlete in Canada and went on to win bronze in 2018.

Humphries hasn’t competed since 2018

Since medaling in the PyeongChang Games, Humphries has not competed for Canada. While at first she did not give an explanation for why she was sitting out a year for the first time in nearly a decade, she announced in January that her harassment complaint was the cause of her absence.

Because an investigation is ongoing, Humphries has not detailed what the harassment was, but she made it clear that she was unable to compete for Canada because of the workplace environment.

“Being put into an environment that is unsafe, it’s not okay, let alone I’m going to be punished just for stating that those facts are existing to me,” Humphries told CBC Sports. “It was a very hard decision, it still is a very hard decision to get to this point. At the end of the day, I have to be who I am, I have to be strong.”

Beyond standing up for herself against alleged abuse, Humphries has been an activist against bullying in partnering with the I’ve Been Bullied campaign. She’s used her experience being bullied in the past to push her to Olympic history.

ALPENSIA, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 5  -  Bobsledder Kaillie Humphries during a Canadian team press conference  at the Main Press Centre at the 2018 Pyeonchang Winter Olympics  in Alpensia in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 5, 2018.        (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Two-time champion bobsledder Kaillie Humphries is hoping to compete for the United States in 2022. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

What could this mean for U.S. bobsledding?

There are a few hoops that Humphries will have to jump through before joining the United States. Getting a release will be most critical, but she won't be able to compete for the U.S. this season unless Canada does so by Sept. 30.

However, Humphries should be safe to compete in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, assuming she gets the release and doesn't compete again for Canada. IOC rules state that athletes may represent a new country as long as they haven't competed for their previous country in at least three years.

“It's hard. This has been my life,” Humphries said. “It’s been everything I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. To know that a country has supported me so strongly and the people in the country have been so great — that I have to either consider being forcefully retired and having somebody else dictate what happens to my career.”

The U.S. has been one of the top countries in the two-woman event since winning gold in the inaugural competition in 2002. Americans won silver in 2006, 2014 and 2018 and added bronze medals in 2010 and 2014. Humphries would be a natural replacement for Jamie Greubel Poser, who retired last year at 34.

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