Kaillie Humphries, a two-time Olympic bobsled gold medallist for Canada and one of the top drivers in her sport’s history, is planning to race for the United States this coming season and beyond — including at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Humphries has been seeking her release from Canada for several weeks, and she has filed suit against Bobsleigh Canada in an effort to expedite that release. She is marrying former U.S. men’s bobsledder Travis Armbruster on Saturday, and that would allow her to represent the U.S. in competition — provided she is released by Canada.
Watch: Kaillie Humphries talks about gender equality in bobsleigh. Story continues after video
Humphries is expected to compete in next week’s U.S. push championships as a guest.
“We look forward to working with Kaillie once she gets her release from Bobsleigh Canada,” USA Bobsled and Skeleton said in a statement provided early Friday to The Associated Press. “Kaillie is a tremendous competitor and has had the respect and admiration of USABS athletes and staff for many years.”
Humphries has been estranged from the Canadian bobsled program for more than a year after filing harassment and abuse claims. She did not race last season and hasn’t competed in a major international race since winning a bronze medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
She is suing BCS for blocking her release, according to CBC.
“They have not provided me a safe place to come back to compete,” Humphries said in an email.
USA Bobsled and Skeleton has told Humphries — a two-time world champion and four-time overall World Cup champion — that it would welcome her to the team. Humphries is very close with U.S. women’s bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor; they are the only three-time Olympic medallists in women’s bobsled history. And the team’s home track in Lake Placid, New York, has long been a special place to Humphries, since that’s where she learned to drive a bobsled in 2006.
Adding Humphries would obviously be a major boost to the U.S. roster. The U.S. women’s program has been one of the best in the world for nearly two decades, but lost Olympic veteran pilot Jamie Greubel Poser to retirement in 2018 and didn’t enjoy its usual level of overall success last season. U.S. women won six medals in World Cup competition last winter, with Meyers Taylor claiming all of them from her pilot seat.
There is an urgency to Humphries’ quest for the release. Under international rules she would need it by Sept. 30 to be able to compete for the U.S. this season, though it’s always possible that could be appealed. The U.S. team is scheduled to begin training on ice in early October, weather permitting.
Humphries has been one of the most dominant women in bobsledding. She was the Olympic gold medallist in 2010 and 2014, and took third at last year’s Pyeongchang Games. She’s a winner of 22 World Cup races in her career, going back to 2009, with three of those wins coming in Lake Placid.
Details of harassment complaint under wraps
Neither Humphries nor BCS has revealed the exact nature of her initial harassment complaint.
BCS said it was conducting an investigation into it.
The national governing body reiterated that in a statement to The Canadian Press and confirmed the lawsuit Thursday.
“Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton abides by its harassment and discrimination policy that has been in place since 2006,” BCS said.
“The Alberta litigation matter by Ms. Humphries, the plaintiff, which names Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton as the defendant, is the subject of an open court process.
“As for the investigation of Ms. Humphries’ discrimination and harassment complaint made under the policy, we can’t provide any comments since this investigation is strictly private and confidential as provided in the policy. We look forward to the findings of the complaint review.”