COC Photo: Ben Stevenson

Humphries speaks out on bullying

The journey to the top of the world is paved with important life lessons. This is a sentiment reigning Olympic and world champion bobsledder Kaillie Humphries does not take lightly.

Sure, getting to the top is serious business, but the Calgary native says if nothing else, sport has to be fun. In an effort to make it so, she has taken a pro-active stance against bullying and is carrying it with her on her drive to top the podium again.

“There is no place for bullying in sport,” she said. “Or in any part of life, it shouldn’t be tolerated.”

The outspoken Humphries is taking it upon herself to make a positive difference and has shouldered a strong position against bullying in all walks of life – especially sport.

“I was never the popular kid,” she said. “I’ve had my fair share of torment. I understand where it comes from. I’ve been in the situation and had to deal with it and I can’t allow that to happen to other people.”

Her initiative, mostly driven around Facebook, is part of the ‘I’ve been bullied’ campaign, an online push to ‘get everyone who has ever been bullied to stand up for themselves and proclaim that they are not defined by their bully words’. It’s a showcase of successful people who were able to overcome the negativity associated with being bullied.

“I’m trying to use the voice that I have been given,” said Humphries. “Sport teaches life lessons about respect, leadership and goal setting. It teaches young people and also adults. When people don’t feel safe in their environment, they lose everything. It changes the whole dynamic of sport and what it can offer people … I’m going to do everything in my power to try and prevent it or try to stop it. People deserve the right to feel safe.”

On her Facebook page, is Humphries’ story – the story of a ‘thicker’ girl who suffered from negative attention to her strong, masculine-type frame growing up and eventually feeling ‘misunderstood’ in the often political world of elite sport as a young adult.

Today, her story is different. It’s the story of a champion, a story with a moral about standing up for what you believe in and doing whatever it takes to achieve your dreams. It’s a story about setting an example for others and giving back to a sport environment that deserves respect.

“Sure, I’m the veteran, but there are a lot of people that I look up to,” said Humphries, naming three-time gold medallist rower Marnie McBean, two-time gold medallist speed skater Catriona Le May Doan, and six-time medallist  speed skater Cindy Klassen in particular.

Humphries will be trying to set an example on the bobsleigh track over the 2012-13 World Cup season. Having locked in a national championship already with rookie brakeman Chelsea Valois, Humphries will be kicking off the World Cup season Nov. 7 with teammates in Park City.

For more on Bobsleigh Canada, visit and to learn more about the anti-bullying message, visit