Kaillie Humphries cruised to her third career Olympic gold medal last week, and the win was especially sweet considering her personal journey over the last four years. The Canadian-born athlete competed in her fourth Olympics, but first as a member of Team USA. She requested to leave Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton in 2018 after filing a harassment complaint.

Humpheries was granted dual Canadian-American citizenship back in December.

uInterview interviewed her before her citizenship status came through about the waiting game and her anticipation of competing for Team USA in the Olympics for the first time.

“I am still waiting for my citizenship to come through,” Humphries said. “I have faith in my government and in the process. I am doing everything humanely possible, connecting with everybody possible, and approaching citizenship the same way I do the Olympics – having no regrets whatsoever. It’s scary and as the games get closer, the pressure goes up. This is part of the situation that I’m in and no athlete is guaranteed a spot until you’re at the Olympics physically competing. With Covid and so many things happening in this world, every athlete has a different story. This is just part of mine.”

Humphries was eager to mention the other women on Team USA as the reason she was most excited about the switch.

“More than just about anything was the strength of the other women in our program,” she said. “Not only Elana (Meyers Taylor) but the brakemen themselves…. what it would be like to race with strong, intense, powerful women and the U.S. has always been so dominant. To be able to join that roster and team up with other women that I was very jealous of in a different country earlier. It motivated me a lot to really push that much harder and to really step up my game to do these women more and more justice.”

Bobsledding is a male-dominated sport. Humphries realized that at the beginning of her career and has been working ever since to equalize the sport. Bobsledding became a part of the Olympic program in 2002. Twenty years later, with the edition of the monobob, women finally have the same medal opportunity as men.

“Elana and I have both been very instrumental in pushing for greater equality within our sport,” Humphries said. “I grew up in the sport where we weren’t allowed on the same bobsled tracks as the men. We weren’t allowed to stay in the same houses as the men. We got a tent outside in minus 20 degrees. Prize money wasn’t the same. I’ve literally been told, ‘You’re not strong enough, you’re not fast enough, you’re not skilled enough as a female. We won’t put you in.’ When I got into bobsledding, at first, I was like, ‘What is happening?’ Our participation numbers aren’t the same. We don’t have the same opportunities and I don’t even have the chance to prove that this is the case. So, to have women’s monobob added now is huge because it allows our sport to reach so many more women worldwide.”

The three-time Olympic gold medalist wants to be a role model for other women bobsledders to look up to.

“I think back on my games and think, ‘What if I could have met Elana or myself?'” Humphries said. “Our efforts have moved the needle. It’s still now where we want it to be. Now that we have equal medal opportunities, hopefully, we’ll get more women involved and continue to push and show the world that we are as good and we are as skilled. We deserve these opportunities.”

“It’s really cool to be able to see and to know that I played one small part of that,” Humphries added.

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