Court denies Kaillie Humphries' request to be released from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton
A Calgary judge has ruled Olympian Kaillie Humphries won't be released from the Canadian team to compete for the U.S.
Humphries filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) and last week asked the courts for an injunction that would force the sport's national governing body to release her, paving the way for her to compete for the United States.
The judge found the governing body of the sport has discretion whether or not to allow an athlete to compete for another country and ruled Humphries should have initiated a dispute resolution process with Bobsleigh Canada earlier.The ruling means Humphries can’t compete for the U.S but she also doesn’t have a contract with Team Canada.
"This entire thing is a fairly passive aggressive game on the part of Bobsleigh Canada to punish an athlete that has given so much to this country and can't find a way forward to compete with Bobsleigh Canada," said Jeffrey Rath, Humphries' lawyer, following the decision.
The case was part of a year-long dispute involving the three-time Olympic medallist. The 34-year-old filed a harassment complaint against head coach Todd Hays last year, alleging verbal and mental abuse. BCS conducted an investigation into the accusations but court heard Monday there wasn’t enough evidence to support the claim.
"We've taken these allegations seriously and we've looked into every aspect of these programs and believe we have a safe and high performing training environment for all athletes," said Chris Le Bihan, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton's performance director.
The organization also claims Humphries received 15 years of publically funded training in Canada and they don’t want to set a precedent for other athletes to leave.
The Canadian Olympic Committee issued the following statement regarding the decision.
"Team Canada’s excellence is built on successful partnerships with both individual athletes and their National Sport Federations. Kaillie Humphries and Bobsleigh Canada’s work together over the past 15 years, has not only produced podium-topping results, but has raised the profile of bobsleigh in Canada to new heights. The current situation is extremely unfortunate. The COC has offered appropriate assistance to both parties and hopes that a resolution to the present issue can be found."
Humphries recently married former American bobsledder Travis Armbruster, making her eligible to compete for the U.S. She is still planning on travelling to the U.S. this week where push trials are taking place but it's yet to be seen if she'll be there to train or as an observer.