CALGARY – Kaillie Humphries has written Canadians a thank-you note a day after being released from the Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) program.
The Olympic champion has had a tense relationship with the organization which oversees her sport over, first taking a hiatus a year ago and then filing a harassment claim. BCS said that claim was forwarded to an independent investigator but no wrongdoing was found.
Saturday, BCS announced it would be granting Humphries’ request to be released.
Sunday, the 34-year-old hometown hero said she didn’t know how to feel.
“While I am very happy this purgatory has ended after over a year of trying to get my concerns and the concerns of other athletes taken seriously, I am also very sad to not compete under my flag any longer,” reads a statement from the athlete on social media.
She says no words will be able to express her gratitude and deep love for her fellow Canadians and all the people who supported her along her way.
“Some of my greatest memories and triumphs have been standing on top of the podium, singing the words to our national anthem,” she writes. “The support of this nation is not lost on me.”
Humphries also goes on to say there are a number of other athletes under BCS who are no longer competing as a result of similar experiences and points to a culture of abuse and harassment in amateur sports.
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“I feel the biggest issue is safety in amateur sports for athletes, being able to compete free from abuse and harassment. The need to be able to speak up without fear of retribution within the system or the public eye when things aren’t right is so desperately important,” she said.
“While I am heartbroken that I felt my only available option for a safe environment was tor refrain from competition and ultimately leave, others have more grave consequences when facing the reality of their own situations.”
She ends her emotional letter to Canada wishing other athletes the best in their endeavours and asking those who may be upset with her actions to try to understand it’s been a difficult process.
“I would have loved to continue to compete for Canada.”