Humphries applies for citizenship, with Beijing 2022 in mind

Kaillie Humphries, the reigning world champion and presumed Olympic favorite in both women’s bobsled and monobob, has applied for an expedited process of obtaining U.S. citizenship so she can represent the country in the 2022 Beijing Games.

The formal process started several weeks ago and became more official in recent days once Humphries’ application fees were accepted and she was issued a receipt number. How long the process will take is anyone’s guess.

If she obtains citizenship, Humphries would almost certainly be considered one of the top U.S. medal contenders — from any sport — at the Beijing Olympics. She teamed with Lolo Jones to win the world title earlier this month.

“We’ve received an incredible amount of support from the public, as well as state and federal politicians, who are all very supportive of Kaillie’s application seeking to become a citizen of the United States,” said Gregg Clifton, an attorney for the Phoenix-based firm Jackson Lewis, which is representing Humphries. “She satisfies every requirement for citizenship that is mandated by the federal law. We’re just asking for a slight exemption to expedite the consideration of her citizenship application.”

Expedite requests are not uncommon and are considered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on a case-by-case basis. Humphries has been married to an American, former bobsledder Travis Armbruster, since 2019 and the couple lives in San Diego.

“I am confident that it can get done. I believe that it can and I believe that it will,” Humphries said. “But the reality is it might not, and that will make me heartbroken and extremely sad. I understand that the real world is very different than the sports dream that I get to live every day being an athlete, and there’s no guarantees in life, in sport, in anything.”

Humphries is a Canadian citizen and was a bobsled icon for her native country, winning Olympic gold medals in 2010 and 2014 and a bronze in 2018. She holds a green card and has been racing for USA Bobsled since the fall of 2019 — when she was released by Bobsled Canada in resolution to a dispute where she said was verbally and mentally abused by a coach to the point where she no longer felt safe.

Her results for the Americans have been stellar: she won the women’s bobsled world title for the U.S. to highlight her first season on the team in 2020, then not only defended that title but won the inaugural monobob world championship this winter. She has been permitted to race in World Cup and world championship events for the U.S., but must have citizenship to be eligible for the Olympics.

“She’s such a great ambassador for our country and for young female athletes who aspire to be an Olympian,” Clifton said Monday. “There’s such a good feel to this and such a good reason to do this.”

Humphries is scheduled to finish her season in the coming weeks at the U.S. team trials in Park City, Utah and Lake Placid, New York. Humphries, as the reigning world champion, has a bye onto the national teams for next season already.

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