Montreal (AFP) – Double Olympic Popsley champion Kaylee Humphries has left her home Canada after reporting harassment from her coach, but she still dreams of competing in her fourth Games, this time only under the American flag.
Sweater with the abbreviation “USA” and hair tied with a star-studded ribbon, this great figure of the feminine popslee smiles after what she considers to be “a great week”.
In an interview with AFP from Altenberg (Germany) at the Popsley World Cup, the athlete admitted with a smile, “I feel a little overwhelmed, I’m not going to lie.”
Born in Calgary (western Canada) 36 years ago, Humphries knew that his two-year process of obtaining US citizenship had been successful, and that he had just opened the door to represent the United States at the upcoming Beijing Winter Games. (February 4-20).
Two days later, Humphreys climbed to the top of the stage and won his 28th World Cup. After many years of “big ups and downs”, he now feels a “sense of pride and achievement”.
In August 2018, Humphries filed a complaint against her coach for moral and physical harassment. This situation led to a breakdown with the Canadian team and he was transferred to the United States, with its national team where he competed in the 2019 World Cup.
Following that, an independent investigation by the Canadian Popsleek Federation did not find sufficient evidence to substantiate the alleged harassment.
“My playing career ended in Canada,” says Humphries. “I know it’s not safe to continue in that environment.”
“Every day I was in a state of fear. Public humiliation,” the athlete recalled, referring to experiencing “threats” and “threats.”
“I tried to raise my voice” but received little support or not, he regrets. Leaving was “not an easy decision (…) it killed me to do so.”
Now he dreams of a sporting revenge in Beijing, where he wants to add two more Olympic medals to his collection, one is the women’s double popsley and the other is the women’s monopop, a novelty at this Olympic event. Reached gold with Canada in 2010 and 2014 and bronze in 2018.
On social media, Humphries regularly posts videos of her training sessions. With long blonde hair on one side of her head and a shave on the other, the pictures show her doing push-ups at home or training on the streets of Carlspot, California, where she lives with her husband, former American popliner Travis.
She now firmly believes that the challenges of recent years have strengthened her.
“This change is very liberating. In this environment I feel free, safe and empowered,” he says of his move to join Team USA. “I am with like-minded people who motivate me to be better physically and mentally,” he says. “They consider me a leader … they respect me as a woman, as an athlete.”
“Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, be in a safe environment and not be afraid of being beaten or harassed or mistreated,” he notes.
Humphries has fought for more space for women in her sport. At her request, the International Federation of Queens opened the Four Men’s Popsley event to women and allowed competition in mixed teams.
It remains to be seen whether Humphries will be able to take part in his fourth game in Beijing by January 17, which will already be a huge success for him.
© 2021 AFP
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