One of Canada’s most decorated Olympians is in the final stages of leaving Team Canada to compete for the United States.
Kaillie Humphries says it’s become clear Bobsleigh Canada no longer wants her competing for the team and has asked to be released. This comes more than a year after Humphries filed a harassment complaint with the national sport organization.
However, the 34-year-old from Calgary claims she’s been waiting to be released from Bobsleigh Canada for weeks, so that she can begin training for the U.S. Team — and she can’t wait any longer.
“I want to say ‘thank you’ to Canada, who has been a huge support. It’s really hard. It’s hard. This has been my life,” Humphries told CBC Sports.
“This has been a 15-year career. 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.”
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Humphries is suing the national governing body for blocking her release from the team and breaching their contract relating to athlete and coach code of conduct.
Last August, Humphries filed a harassment complaint with Bobsleigh Canada, telling CBC in January she was in “a position where my workplace environment was impaired and I couldn’t compete.”
Humphries has been waiting for more than a year for the national sport organization to complete its internal investigation.
Bobsleigh Canada told CBC News on Thursday night the investigation is still ongoing.
In a statement to CBC News, Bobsleigh Canada said it abides by its harassment and discrimination policy that has been in place since 2006.
The organization said it would not comment on Humphries’ specific case, citing the privacy provisions of that policy, until the investigation is complete.
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Humphries now says she’d rather compete for the U.S. She is marrying an American on Saturday.
“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 said.
“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.”
Humphries says once she secures her release from Team Canada, she will begin her process to become eligible to compete for the United States.
She plans to attend a U.S. bobsleigh training camp in Lake Placid as a guest next week.
Humphries is a two-time Olympic champion and was named the 2014 Lou Marsh Award winner as the top athlete in Canada. She and brakeman Heather Moyse are the only female bobsleigh athletes to win back-to-back gold medals.