Kaillie Humphries, the Canadian bobsledder who was fighting to compete for the United States in the next Olympics, might have just lost her only opportunity to do so. On Sept. 17, a Calgary judge denied Humphries' request to be released from Bobsleigh Canada. However, Humphries and her lawyer plan to continue their fight against the organization.
Humphries had previously filed a complaint alleging that Canada Bobsleigh head coach Todd Hays had verbally and emotionally abused her. She also planned to sue the organization for $45 million. An investigation into those allegations, which was completed days before the hearing, determined that they were unsubstantiated.
Arif Chowdhury, a lawyer for Bobsleigh Canada, suggested that Humphries had not taken every opportunity to settle the dispute internally before asking to be released from the organization, according to CBC News. Chowdhury also said that it would be unfair for Humphries to compete for another country after receiving publicly funded training in Canada.
Humphries' lawyer, Jeffrey Rath, argued that because his client's contract had expired in June, she did not have the ability to go through the proper channels. He also argued that since it was clear Bobsleigh Canada did not want Humphries to compete for them, that joining the U.S. team was her "only option," according to CBC.
Bobsleigh Canada athletes are required to obtain a written release from the organization, even if their contract has ended and they are not competing. The release would have been required for Humphries to participate in U.S. Push Trials happening this month. Humphries did not compete in the 2018-2019 season, during the time of her dispute.
Chowdhury used Skate Canada's own rule about athletes competing for other countries to support his own. According to the Journal Pioneer, skaters who wish to compete for another country must sit out for the same number of years as they received publicly funded training. Jeffrey Rath argued that Humphries would have to sit out for 15 years to meet that standard.
AthletesCan, the organization that represents Canada's national team athletes, tweeted a statement in support of Humphries, saying, "Nothing is more important than our athletes’ health & safety."
According to CBC, Rath told reporters that Humphries is "very disappointed," but that they are going to keep fighting. Bobsleigh Canada high performance director Chris Le Bihan told reporters that Humphries is still welcome to compete for Canada in the next Olympics, according to CBC.