Top Canadian bobsleigh, skeleton athletes call for resignations amid toxic_freckle removal with laser

Top Canadian bobsleigh, skeleton athletes call for resignations amid toxic-culture allegationsSome of Canada's top bobsleigh and skeleton athletes are calling for the resignations at the national governing body amid allegations of a toxic culture within the organization.

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Letter signed by 60 athletes alleges culture of fear, safety concerns

Nick Murray · CBC News(Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press)

Some of Canada's top bobsleigh and skeleton athletes are calling for the resignations of the president of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Sarah Storey, and high performance director Chris Le Bihan.

A group of more than 60 athletes have penned an open letter to the organization, alleging Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) is still riddled with toxicity — despite the organization touting a culture shift following the departure of Kaillie Humphries in 2019 amid harassment allegations.

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The full list of signatories to the letter has not been disclosed by its organizers. However, CBC News has spoken to a dozen current and former athletes, and has verified the letter's authenticity.

The athletes who spoke with CBC News say while the culture shift was generally successful in repairing relations between athletes and coaches, BCS' administration didn't hold up its end to bring about positive change to the organization.

Canada won a bronze medal in the four-man men's bobsleigh at the Beijing Winter Games last month, as well as a bronze medal in the inaugural women's monobob event.

WATCH | Justin Kripps pilots Canada to Olympic bronze medal in 4-man bobsleigh:

Justin Kripps pilots Canada to Olympic bronze medal in 4-man bobsleigh

18 days agoDuration 4:36The 2018 Olympic champion pilot in two-man bobsleigh, Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., won the bronze medal in the two-man bobsleigh event at Beijing 2022.4:36

A culture of fear

The athletes who spoke with CBC News all described a grim culture, one where they're afraid to speak out for fear of retaliation from the organization — namely, losing their spot on the national team and thus their Olympic dreams. Those concerns are also reflected in the letter, signed by athletes who competed for Canada as far back as 2014.

"BCS's leadership style feels authoritarian, and fear of retaliation silences athletes and prevents them from bringing forward any questions or concerns," the letter reads.

"The athletes feel they have no voice on matters that directly affect them and face an organization that is unwilling to meaningfully address concerns and make improvements."

Athletes who spoke with CBC also allege concerns raised have often been met with defensiveness from the organization, and their complaints disregarded. When BCS has taken steps to investigate complaints, the athletes say the process has been inadequate, as also raised in the letter.

Through a spokesperson, Storey and Le Bihan declined CBC's request for an interview about the letter.

WATCH | Kaillie Humphries wins monobob gold in 1st Olympics as an American:

Kaillie Humphries wins monobob gold in 1st Olympics as an American

24 days agoDuration 3:41Calgarian Kaillie Humphries, who won two Olympic gold medals for Canada in women's bobsleigh, won her first Olympic gold medal as an American in monobob's debut at Beijing 2022.News|Corrections and Clarifications

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