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Hero or ‘traitor’? Kaillie Humphries stuns Canada with bid to join U.S. team

WATCH: Olympic medallist Kaillie Humphries announced on Jan. 19 that she had filed a complaint against Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.

Canadian Olympic bobsledder Kaillie Humphries is planning to trade in her maple leaf for the stars and stripes amid a widening dispute with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton over a harassment complaint she filed last year.

The news hit Twitter like a bomb Thursday night after Humphries announced her plans in a tearful interview with CBC Sports.

“This ain’t right!” former Canadian Olympic men’s skeleton athlete Jon Montgomery tweeted on Thursday night.

“I got nothin — but I got mad RESPECT for this woman and I’ve had dealings with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton,” he wrote. “She needs help and sliding for the USA is not an option for Canada. But if this plays out the way it’s going, I don’t blame her!”

READ MORE: Canadian Olympic bobsled champion Kaillie Humphries wants to compete for U.S.

Humphries has won two Olympic gold medals and a bronze for Canada and is one of the top drivers in women’s bobsledding history. However, she hasn’t competed in over a year after filing claims of harassment and abuse with Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. She is currently suing the organization to secure her release so she can compete for the United States.

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The 34-year-old from Calgary was expected to marry Travis Armbruster, a former U.S. men’s bobsledder, on Saturday in San Diego, Calif. The marriage would allow her to race for her husband-to-be’s country at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Kaillie Humphries is shown with her fiancé Travis Armbruster on a beach in California in this photo posted to her Instagram page on Sept. 12, 2019.
Kaillie Humphries is shown with her fiancé Travis Armbruster on a beach in California in this photo posted to her Instagram page on Sept. 12, 2019. Kaillie Humphries/Instagram

However, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton will have to secure her release by Sept. 30 in order for her to join Team USA by the international deadline for next season.

Humphries did not race last season and hasn’t appeared at an international competition since the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, where she won a bronze medal.

“They have not provided me a safe place to come back to compete,” Humphries said.

Humphries thanked Canadians for supporting her on Thursday.

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WATCH: Kaillie Humphries talks about her fitness

Canadian Olympian Kaillie Humphries on what it means to be fit
Canadian Olympian Kaillie Humphries on what it means to be fit

She has not shared specific details of her harassment allegations, which she first announced in January.

“Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton abides by its harassment and discrimination policy that has been in place since 2006,” the organization’s spokesperson, Chris Dornan, told Global News in a statement on Friday. He declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in Alberta civil court.

READ MORE: Former Olympian Kaillie Humphries files harassment complaint with Bobsleigh Canada

“As for the investigation of Ms. Humphries’ discrimination and harassment complaint made under the policy, we can’t provide any comments since this investigation is strictly private and confidential as provided in the policy,” he said. “We look forward to the findings of the complaint review.”

Global News has reached out to Humphries for comment.

WATCH: Humphries reflects on her performance at the 2018 Olympics

Kaillie Humphries discusses her 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic experience
Kaillie Humphries discusses her 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic experience

Despite the rift, Humphries’ photo was still featured prominently on the front page of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton’s website on Friday morning.

Fellow Olympic gold medalist Patrick Chan represented Canada alongside Humphries at three Winter Olympics and calls her a close friend.

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“All I can say is I’m supporting her in her endeavor to be the best. Unfortunately, it may not be with Canada anymore, but I’ll be cheering her on anyways,” Chan said.

Humphries and her teammate, Heather Moyse, served as flag-bearers at the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics in 2014. She won the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s top athlete later that year.

The reactions to Humphries’ move have been mixed on Twitter.

“NOT cool … not impressed … I’m not even going to listen to your reason why,” user Trina Lee tweeted, adding the hashtag #Traitor.

“It’s fine. Go. Canada will get over it,” Dean Miskiman wrote. “Good luck.”

READ MORE: Olympic star Kaillie Humphries says sports helped her cope with bullying

User Larry Hoffman said he was “disgusted” that Humphries has been put in her current position.

“It’s taking much too long for whomever is supposed to be looking into this to get it done,” he tweeted. “They should be ashamed! Because of them, Canada is losing a great athlete and a good person.”

Instagram user atomicshelley hailed Humphries as a hero.

“You’re a warrior and a champion no matter what you represent,” she wrote on Humphries’ account. “Keep speaking your voice, your truth. Courage and strength.”

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