It all started when a Netflix show was released to expose the abuse in United States gymnastic, since then, British Gymnastic athletes have voiced out their experiences, among them is an athlete who represents Great Britain at the Rio Olympics. A former Gymnast complained about the harsh environment, how they would train on existing wounds, and how their complaints were overlooked or not taken seriously by authorities.
The Olympics governing body believes the cases of abuse and bullying by coaches is against everything they stand for
The British Gymnasts had later launched an independent review into abuse allegations. The British Athletes Commission (BAC), represented by 1200 athletes across 40 sports said “the BAC acknowledges the announcement that British Gymnastics has commissioned an independent review into allegations of mistreatment of athletes,
“We have since written to British Gymnastics and UK sports to reiterate the need for a comprehensive, fair, and truly independent processes.” The commission also promised to listen to the voices of abused athletes if they reach out.
That said, The Downie sisters, Becky, and Ellie also came out to talk about their experience with abusive coaches and trainers, how they were abused to the stage of “physical breakdown,” and how their complaints were believed to have made them mentally weak.
Not to seem biased in the very least, it’s not only females who are suffering abuse, but a male Olympic hopeful also lamented how he was abused to the point where he thought of taking his own life.
Finally, higher-ups have started to open up on the issue, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach decided to address the menace after Olympic Bronze Medallist Amy Tinkler said she had quit Gymnastics after her final complaints did not receive a feedback.
According to Bach, the International Olympic Committee has and is working to improve the safety of athletes and the Olympic sports as a whole, “we have given advice, and we have also asked for clarification wherever clarification was needed because their cases are clearly against everything we stand for ” Bach said.
“We will not give up, and we will do whatever we can concerning prevention but then also to follow up on cases that would be or should come under our jurisdiction, we take all these cases very, very seriously from the beginning, you remember that already a couple of years ago, we issued a toolkit concerning abuse and harassment of athletes which is available for the entire Olympic movement.”
With that in mind, why then do some of the athletes still say their complaints we’re not taken seriously? Why do their claims make them mentally weak?
Former British Gymnast Beth Tweddle encourages abused persons to speak up for their rights
Former artistic Gymnast known for her bar and floor routines, Elizabeth Kimberly Tweddle, has urged gymnasts to speak up for their rights, share their feelings and experiences to get the needed attention to bring this existing crime to an end.
She took to Instagram to encourage athletes all around the world, she wrote, “Gymnastics is my life, and it’s been a stressful week or so for everyone in Gymnastics, reading and watching the stories in the news, you should never be afraid to talk, and it hurts me to learn that Gymnasts have not felt like they can do this, share feelings, talk about experiences and being open is, I believe the only way to create a positive and healthy environment
“I welcome the independent review, and I urge all Gymnasts to talk, to contribute and share their experiences, both positive and negative, to ensure that our sports can be safe and enjoyable to everyone.”
What coaches, trainers, and those who abuse these Gymnasts, whether physically or mentally much consider is that these are also people, they’re not one of those heavy metals they lift or anything of that sort. Their mental well-being is very important and should be considered.
They should know and keep it in mind that a dead person cannot work for them; a depressed person cannot work for them. Therefore these athletes must be treated with care, respect, and love for them to step up their games and come out being the best they can be. Sexually abusing them or beating them in secret will not stay like that forever.
The IOC has taken an excellent approach to this at the moment, and hopefully, we should hear some good news.