Kaillie Humphries made history on Sunday when she won the first-ever monobob event at the Winter Olympics. But the Canadian-born slider also made headlines for competing for the United States at these Olympics, switching her nationality after alleging abuse by her Canadian coach in 2018.
Prior to joining Team USA, Humphries was a decorated bobsledder in Canada, winning gold in the two-woman in both Vancouver and Sochi, and bronze in PyeongChang.
Here’s a timeline of Humphries’ career and how she arrived at winning gold representing the United States:
Competing for Canada
Humphries’ national team debut for Canada came at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, where she was selected as an alternate.
At the following Winter Olympics in Vancouver, she won her first gold in the two-woman. Then, she became a star, claiming back-to-back World Championships in 2012 and 2013. She also placed on the podium in all nine World Cup races in 2012-13, winning seven straight two-woman races in the World Cup series.
At the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Humphries defended her Olympic title and became the first female pilot to win multiple Olympic gold medals.
Following a bronze medal in the two-woman in PyeongChang, Humphries filed a harassment complaint against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton and a lawsuit asking to be released from the Canadian team.
In 2019, Humphries married her husband Travis Armbruster, an American bobsledder. While a judge didn’t grant her immediate release, BCS did later that year.
In a statement at the time, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton said it “took Kaillie’s allegations extremely seriously.”
"Investigating these allegations to their fullest was our number-one priority to ensure a safe training and competitive environment for everyone involved in our sport,” the organization said. “The investigation found insufficient evidence of Kaillie's allegations."
Obtaining U.S. citizenship
Humphries then began competing for the United States on the World Cup circuit in 2019, winning gold in the two-woman in 2020.
“This has been the most difficult ordeal of my life, and I want Canada to know that competing for you and winning for you at the Olympics will always be the highlight of my career,” Humphries said.
But she didn’t know if she would obtain American citizenship in time for the 2022 Olympics. The United States requires a three-year wait for citizenship through marriage. She finally got the call in December of 2021, flying in from her World Cup training in Germany to California for a citizenship test, interview and swearing-in ceremony.
With her citizenship question out of the way, Humphries defended her World Cup gold in the two-woman in 2021 and also won gold in monobob — as an American citizen.
“I really do feel that the strength that I drew from (was) actually being able to be an American citizen now,” Humphries said. “I had more capacity, definitely to focus on sport and being the best that I could be without those little thoughts.”
Golden for the USA
On Sunday, Humphries won gold in her first competition representing the United States at the Olympics, and in the process, made history as the first ever winner of women’s monobob at the Olympic Games.
"It took a team, a country, in order to be able to get me here and I will do the very best work I can do,” Humphries said. “That's what I'm solely focused on right now.”
Humphries said it’s “not lost on me” to represent the United States, making it through a process that’s “been step by step, not without a lot of happy moments and a lot of tears for sure.”
“I feel so supported and loved by a country and a team,” Humphries said. “Everybody that has supported me throughout these last four years, this medal is for them. I am one small piece of what this means and by no means did I get here individually nor have I earned this myself.”
Humphries will look for a second gold in the two-woman event this week.