Serious abuse allegations against British gymnastics. © APA / getty / JAMIE SQUIRE
Abuse, humiliation and sexual assault: A report published this week provided devastating testimony to British Gymnastics (BG).
June 17, 2022
In more than 300 pages, attorney Anne White evaluated the experience reports of nearly 400 gymnasts, most of them underage. It concluded that there had been “systematic” abuse in sports. According to the report, many gymnasts were subjected to physical punishment, verbal humiliation or unhealthy practices by their coaches.
For example, young men were urged to train despite injuries, were not allowed to go to the toilet or drink as punishment, or had to hold out in awkward positions for long periods of time. Violations are particularly prevalent in elite sport, according to the report, which concluded that money and success matter more than the well-being of athletes. Meanwhile, protection measures were insufficient and complaints processes were ineffective.
Sarah Powell, CEO of BG, responded to the report on Thursday and announced reforms. “British Gymnastics accepts all recommendations and material findings. We will not shy away from taking action. I want to offer my heartfelt apologies to the gymnasts who have suffered because we did not live up to our standards,” Powell wrote.
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