Over the past year I have been loosely following the story of Canadian Olympic Bobsledder (Bobsleigher?) Kaillie Humphries. This amazing athlete has won 3 Olympic Medals and multiple World Championship and Word Cup medals for Canada.
A year ago she said she was taking a year off of training as she did not feel safe in her workplace and had submitted a harassment complaint to Bobsleigh Canada. This was fairly on the quiet, as there didn’t seem to be any reporting about the complaint and the process involved in reviewing her complaint?
Now a year later, Kaillie is engaged to marry a retired US Bobsledder and has sued Bobsleigh Canada (I enjoy the Canadian vs. US spelling differences!), as she wants to be released to compete for the United States. As of today – this has not been successful.
My first thought on this was what the maple leaf is going on? She’s competed for Canada for all these years and was the co-flag bearer at the closing of the last Winter Olympics, and now she wants to be American? It hurt. But then I looked a little deeper.
Why, after one year has her complaint not been dealt with? Athletes need to train in a positive environment in a timely manner. Winter is coming, World Cups are coming, and the next Winter Olympics are in 2022.
Finally though, the name of the complainee was revealed. He is the coach of Bobsleigh Canada Todd Hay, a former US Bobsledder, who was a coach with US Bobsledding until 2014. At first glance, it looks like he left Bobsled US because of a shuffling of coaching staff, but apparently there were complaints by two American athletes to SafeSport about his harassment prior to his dismissal. These were anonymous tips to the CBC in the following article: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/sports/more-sports/kaillie-humphries-alleges-abuse-by-bobsleigh-canada-head-coach-todd-hays/ar-AAHgaez
In Kaillee Humphrie’s complaint she states that he verbally abused her for an hour in front of other people. So wouldn’t it be easy enough to interview all of these people and get the investigation done with in less than a year? Maybe a few days or weeks?
Recently supporting statements regarding the coach have come out on twitter from a few of the Canadian athletes. But seriously, if you are an athlete who has secured a spot on a national team, but you are not the dominant medal winning Humphries, would you really want to rock the Bobsleigh? All of these people want to make the Olympic and World Cup teams. Today on Sports Talk Shows I heard he described as a difficult to deal with, and that may or may not be so. The fact is that she is an elite athlete that made a complaint that doesn’t seem to be resolved in a timely manner. Where is the spirit ot True Sport in that?
2 thoughts on “Bobsleigh Controversy”
Just a followup to say that Kaillie has been released by Bobsleigh Canada – https://twitter.com/BobsledKaillie
Good Luck Kaillie!
Update: In Kaillie’s World Cup debut for the United States, she and her new partner won their heats and took their first World Cup victory. https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/winter/sliding/bobsled-skeleton-season-opener-lake-placid-1.5388355