Two-time Olympic bobsled champion Kaillie Humphries‘ bid to switch from Canada to compete for the U.S. was denied by a Calgary judge on Tuesday.
“Humphries has chosen not to avail herself of Bobsled Canada’s dispute resolution,” a judge said, according to the Calgary Herald.
Humphries, a 2010 and 2014 Olympic gold medalist, said she no longer wants to compete for Canada after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against Canadian coach Todd Hays, a 2002 and 2006 U.S. Olympian and former U.S. coach. She is suing the federation.
A Bobsleigh Canada lawyer said an independent investigation found not enough evidence to substantiate Humphries’ allegations.
“These are matters that should go to the sports tribunals,” the lawyer said of Humphries wanting to switch countries. “They should not be going before a court.”
Canada’s federation refuses to release her.
“Our mandate is to develop world, Olympic champions,” high-performance director Chris Le Bihan said Tuesday, according to CBC. “That’s what we do. Kaillie is obviously a world, Olympic champion. We want Kaillie in our program. Kaillie is obviously going to be a threat in the next Olympics, and there’s nothing we want to see more than Canadians standing on the podium.”
Humphries’ lawyer said after the ruling that they may appeal to the International Bobsled Federation to secure a release under exceptional circumstances of “unreasonable and unsportsmanlike” behavior from Bobsleigh Canada.
“It’s obvious that this is purely anti-competitive on the part of Bobsleigh Canada,” Humphries’ lawyer said. “The actions that they’re taking are simply to hamper Kaillie’s ability to compete for the United States.”
Humphries could be eligible to compete for the U.S. after marrying American bobsledder Travis Armbruster on Saturday.
Three athletes have competed for Canada at an Olympics, then for the U.S. at a later Olympics, but none were medalists for Canada. Humphries is one of Canada’s most accomplished Olympians. She won the 2014 Lou Marsh Trophy, viewed as the nation’s athlete of the year, and carried the flag at the Sochi Winter Games Closing Ceremony.
Humphries, 34, earned a bronze medal in PyeongChang then announced last October that she would take the 2018-19 season off at least in part to strengthen her recent engagement with Armbruster.
“This has been my life, it’s been a 15-year career,” a tearful Humphries said in a CBC video interview last week. “This is everything that I dreamed of since I was a kid, and to know that a country has supported me so strongly, and the people in the country have been so great.”
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