A Letter to Canadians: Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton Releases Kaillie Humphries to the United States
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s mission is to develop world and Olympic champions.
Our tradition of excellence is rooted in the 1964 Olympic Winter Games when Vic Emery’s four-man bobsleigh team won the first Olympic gold medal for the sport in Canada. Since that historic day 55 years ago, we have gone on to develop medal-winning Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast, introducing you all to a list of some of the nation’s most decorated Olympians: Pierre Lueders; Dave McEachern; Kaillie Humphries; Heather Moyse; Helen Upperton; Shelley-Ann Brown; Lyndon Rush; Lascelles Brown; Chris Le Bihan; Dave Bissett; Justin Kripps; Alex Kopacz; Duff Gibson; Jon Montgomery; Jeff Pain; Mellisa Hollingsworth; and many more.
We have celebrated the remarkable athletic accomplishments of each of these, and many other, bobsleigh and skeleton athletes with all Canadians. Together, they boast dozens of World Championship and hundreds of World Cup podium performances in addition to seven Olympic gold medals, three silvers and three bronze medals.
Kaillie Humphries is obviously an integral piece to our sport’s history.
On August 22, 2018, Kaillie filed a harrassment complaint with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. Abiding by its harrassment and discrimination policy that has been in place since 2006, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton immediately forwarded the complaint to an independent professional investigator to ensure a thorough and confidential investigation of the complaint.
On October 7, 2018, Kaillie announced she was taking a year away from the sport.
On January 19, 2019, Kaillie announced publicly that she had filed a harrassment complaint.
On August 3, 2019 Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton received a request from USA Bobsled and Skeleton to release Kaillie so that she could compete for the United States. On August 4, 2019 Kaillie requested release from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton tying the request to the allegations of harassment. In light of the fact that there was an open and ongoing investigation, the Board of Directors decided to defer the release request until the independent investigation was complete. This was communicated to Kaillie on August 22.
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton took Kaillie’s allegations extremely seriously. Investigating these allegations to their fullest was our number-one priority to ensure a safe training and competitive environment for everyone involved in our sport. The investigation found insufficient evidence of Kaillie’s allegations.
On September 13, 2019 Kaillie filed a lawsuit against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton and sought a mandatory injunction to obtain a release in order to compete for the United States.
On September 17, 2019 a Calgary judge denied Kaillie’s application that sought an immediate release from Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton in order to compete for the American team.
Canada’s bobsleigh and skeleton athletes and coaches take great pride in their ongoing work towards building a positive and fair culture for everyone in the national program, challenging each other in a safe and constructive way in an effort to make each other better. Collectively we believe that this healthy, team-focused environment is our competitive advantage on the track, and it has already contributed to the successes of a newly emerging group of medal-winners for Canada at all levels of the sport.
This group of Canadian role models work tirelessly each day to find the fractions of a second needed to carry the torch and continue our medal-winning mission well into the future.
They are equally determined, competitive and as driven as those who have blazed the track to the international podium before them. Most importantly, they are relentless in their dedication to the team and protecting the positive culture they have created. Active in the community making regular school appearances, engaging with charities and interacting with corporate Canada, the work they have done over the last year on and off the track reinforces the notion that no single medal is bigger than one team – one program.
Taking all of this into account, while seeking input from all of the organization’s key stakeholders, the Board of Directors at Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton have decided to grant Kaillie’s request for a release from our program.
This was not an easy decision, nor was it one we took lightly. Alongside our stakeholders, we carefully weighed all the relevant factors in this important and complex decision of releasing a medal-potential athlete to one of our top competitors. Ultimately, we firmly believe that supporting our current athletes and the positive culture they have developed as a team will foster the environment we need to successfully grow our sport and slide onto the international podium both now, and in the future.
These athletes and coaches deserve the opportunity to focus on their pursuit of excellence.
We are grateful for the continued investment from the Government of Canada, all of our generous corporate and sport partners, and most notably, to all Canadians for sticking with us, cheering us on and supporting this extraordinary group of athletes who take great pride in wearing the maple leaf on their uniforms while chasing their Olympic dreams.
We look forward to seeing you along the track to Beijing 2022.
Board of Directors
Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton