Olympic gold medallist Kaillie Humphries will have her harassment claims against Bobsleigh Canada investigated once again, after successfully appealing the original investigation.
The bobsledder, originally from Calgary, was involved in a multi-year legal battle with Bobsleigh Canada (BCS) and her former coach Todd Hays on claims of an abusive coaching environment.
Humphries alleged Hays was verbally and emotionally abusive, and other athletes previously coached by Hays in the United States have told CBC News that they faced physical abuse as well. Those athletes filed reports to SafeSport in the U.S., but CBC has not confirmed the findings of those reports.
An investigation by an independent, third-party company hired by BCS found that Humphries’ allegations could not be proven. She has since left Team Canada to compete for the U.S.
Robert Armstrong, an arbitrator for the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, has now ruled that BCS was neither thorough or reasonable in its investigation.
“The investigator hired by BCS to look into their organization failed to conduct the interviews with witnesses he was assigned to get statements from, made no effort to discern credibility of the parties, and made conclusive statements without any sufficient analysis to support his conclusion,” read a release issued by Humphries’ legal team on Tuesday.
The arbitrator also ruled the new investigator will have to be from the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada.
Bobsleigh Canada said in a statement that while the arbitrator requested a reinvestigation of some of Humphries’ complaints, at the same time it upheld the dismissal of another complaint — in which Humphries alleged her massage time had been purposefully reduced by BCS.
“The remaining allegations are that — allegations. They will be reinvestigated. BCS looks forward to a prompt reinvestigation with Ms. Humphries’ full support,” BCS said in an emailed statement.
In an interview with CBC Calgary News at 6, Humphries says she’s happy Bobsleigh Canada can no longer “cover it up.”
“I feel like this ruling really helps validate the concerns that I had and the issues that I brought up,” said the athlete.
She said that while the process has been hard to go through, she believed in what she was fighting for.
“It’s really awful that I had to leave my country for fear of abuse or retribution from my coach so to get the arbitrators decision is a big relief.”
Humphries added that moving forward, she is excited to continue her career with Team U.S.A. Humphries is eligible to compete for the U.S. as she is married to American bobsledder Travis Armbruster.
“As a female, to be so threatened or feel so vulnerable and not know if you’re going to be punched in the face or not, that’s a really scary position to be in. And I would never feel comfortable putting myself back in that environment [by competing with Team Canada],” she said.
The athlete has been the world women’s bobsled champion for four times and will be competing at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.