Team USA Bobsledder Trains For 2022 Olympics in Carlsbad Sunshine, Despite Unclear Citizenship Status

Despite qualifying for the US Bobsled team, bobsledder Kaillie Humphries' unclear status as a US citizen could put her chance to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics in jeopardy

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Carlsbad, California, may be the last place you would expect to find one of the most-decorated Olympic bobsledders. But reigning world champion Kaillie Humphries feels right at home in Southern California.

She's made it her home, married an American and was selected in September to compete as part of the USA Bobsled team, with whom she plans to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics.

But there's one problem -- Humphries doesn't have U.S. citizenship or a passport, yet.

The Olympics, which operate under International Olympic Committee rules, require athletes to have citizenship in the country they are representing.

"I know the rule was put into place to try and prevent poaching, but that's not my scenario," Humphries said. "It wasn't like I came over 'cause they asked me to. If that was the case, I could have had Chinese citizenship by now, I could've had multiple citizenships. Trust me: These people have asked."

Kaillie Humphries in her Carlsbad home with her three Olympic medals

Humphries is a Canadian citizen and the three medals she secured during her four Olympic runs were all won with Team Canada.

She switched to Team USA shortly after the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics after alleging abuse by her Canadian coach. An investigation and lawsuit are still ongoing.

Humphries argues that the issue is about athletes feeling safe and supported when they speak up, and she hopes the IOC agrees.

"I wasn't safe," Humphries said. "My environment, with where I was at, mentally, physically, I feared for my safety and mental health on a huge scale, and I made that very known."

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Humphries' dominance — she is reigning world champion — has continued with Team USA.

When she isn't traveling the globe during the winter, you'll find her training in her quiet cul-de-sac on a custom-built "frame sled" with wheels.

The sled resembles a Costco flat cart and was specially built to give her extra reps for practicing technique in a land of sunshine.

"It definitely causes some weird looks," Humphries said. "One of my little neighbors has come out before and sat on the front as extra weight and I push her around."

This is home, this is where my life is

Kaillie Humphries

The warm weather also gives her a chance to show off all of her tattoos -- everything from family members' faces to Olympic rings inked on her body -- which are normally hidden under winter clothing.

"Everyone is always, 'You're running out of space'," Humphries said. "I'm like, 'I have a lot of space.' It has taken 36 years to get to this point. There's a lot of space left — trust me."

"The word 'strength' on my leg is the most recent one back here."

In a sport where milliseconds count, Humphries is now in a different kind of race against the clock. She needs to either quickly gain U.S. citizenship in a backlogged system or receive an exemption from the IOC.

Humphries said she has the support of her federation and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"I want to compete for Team USA, Team USA wants me here, I've been with them for the last three years," Humphries said. "This is home, this is where my life is."

If neither happens, one of the world's best bobsledders may find herself watching the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing from home.

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