Calgary-born Olympic gold medallist Kaillie Humphries has won an appeal to have her allegations of an abusive coaching environment at Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton investigated again.
The original investigation by BCS said evidence was insufficient for her claims of verbal and emotional abuse by a coach and a lack of action by staff.
That investigation was not thorough, fair or reasonable, according to Robert Armstrong, the arbitrator for the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada.
“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 the credibility of the parties and made conclusive statements without any sufficient analysis to support his conclusion,” Humphries’ legal team said in a news release sent on Tuesday.
BCS said it looks forward to a prompt investigation.
“An arbitrator of the SDRCC has requested a reinvestigation of certain complaints made by Ms. Humphries,” it said.
“The arbitrator at the same time upheld the dismissal of a complaint of retaliation made by Ms. Humphries, which alleged that her massage time had been purposefully reduced by BCS. The arbitrator expressed no view of the allegations that will be reinvestigated. The remaining allegations are that — allegations. They will be reinvestigated.”
Jeffrey Rath, Humphries’ lawyer, said they are “completely unsurprised” by Armstrong’s ruling.
“What remains surprising to us is the extent to which Bobsleigh Canada continues to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on litigation that appears to be nothing more than organizational abuse of process to the detriment of Canadian athletes,” he said.
Humphries was released from the Canadian bobsleigh team in 2019.
“As a direct result of Ms. Humphries fearing for her personal safety, given [her former coach’s] pattern of verbal abuse and reputation for violence, Ms. Humphries was forced to bring legal action to obtain her release from Bobsleigh Canada to compete for the United States,” her legal team said.
“As a U.S. athlete, she has now won two world championships in the women’s two-man bobsleigh (2020, 2021) and is the first gold medallist in the women’s world championship monobob event.”
Humphries said she chose to appeal the “improper investigation” because she did not believe BCS could adequately investigate itself.
“No one would have chosen to put themselves through what I’ve been through unless they fully believed in the credibility of their claim,” she said.
“It’s clear by other recent examples, including the courageous fight of the U.S. women gymnastics team, that these sport organizations need oversight and should not be investigating themselves.”
The SDRCC ruling requires Bobsleigh Canada to appoint an SDRCC investigator.
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