Olympic double-gold medalist Kaillie Humphries has lost her bid to be released from the Canadian bobsleigh team to compete for the U.S.
Justice Charlene Anderson on Tuesday rejected an injunction application filed by Humphries seeking a court order that Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton sign a release form allowing her to take her talents south.
The Calgary-born athlete filed a $45-million lawsuit last week against the organization alleging she was the victim of verbal and mental abuse at the hands of head coach Todd Hays.
In court on Monday, BCS lawyer Arif Chowdhury said an independent investigation into Humphries original harassment complaint found no evidence to support her claim.
Chowdhury argued against Humphries injunction bid, saying athletes who are the beneficiaries of years of training and funding through tax dollars shouldn’t be allowed to take the talent to other nations.
He noted Skate Canada has a specific agreement with its athletes which says those who wish to switch allegiance must sit on the sidelines for the same number of years for which they’ve received public support.
But Humphries lawyer, Jeffery Rath, said if that rule applied to Humphries case, his client wouldn’t be able to compete for the U.S. for 15 years.
Rath argued Humphries’ contract with BCS expired June 30, and the organization made no attempts to resign her after she sat out the 2018-19 season, following a bronze medal performance at the PyeongChang Games in February, 2018.
Humphries, 34, is the only two-time champion in women’s bobsleigh, capturing gold in Vancouver in 2010, and repeating that feat in Sochi in 2014.
“Bobsleigh Canada has taken no steps to secure Ms. Humphries as a … team member this year,” Rath said.
“It’s clear to her that Bobsleigh Canada has no desire to have her compete for them,” he told Anderson.
Rath said a release letter from BCS was required by the Americans to allow her to compete in push tryouts scheduled this week in Lake Placid, New York.
Not getting the release would “prevent her from competing for the World Cup this year.”
In her lawsuit, Humphries claims Hays was verbally abusive to her on several occasions in front of other individuals, including members of the media, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation and U.S. team.
She is seeking general damages of $15 million, an additional $15 million for economic loss and a similar amount for lost income and future earning capacity.
A statement of defence disputing the unproven allegations has not been filed.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts
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