Gymnastics Australia scandal: This man abused me in various ways, often with my mum in the room

The Australian Human Rights Commission revealed, through a report released on Monday, that several young Australian gymnasts have suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse since the 1980s.

Following the publication of the results, the Australian Gymnastics Federation (Gymnastics Australia) has apologized to anyone who has suffered abuse in the past.

Athletes would be weighed daily and face extreme hardship to meet standards set by coaches and authorities, according to the report.

Abuse in training, locker rooms and bathrooms

The results, based on interviews with 57 people, including athletes, family members and coaches, noted that some interviewees reported “sexual misconduct and abuse during training sessions. , in public and hidden spaces ”.

Meanwhile, a girl revealed she was sexually abused by a massage therapist when she was eight or nine.

“This man abused me in various ways, often with my mother in the room,” she said.

“I would lie face down on the massage table with tears streaming down my face in silence. I remember it was incredibly painful, but I didn’t want to complain.”

In Australia there are approximately 231,000 people who practice gymnastics, of which 77% are women and 91% are under 12 years old.

Gymnastics Australia asked for the report after the documentary “Athlete A” on the abuse by former US National Gymnastics Team doctor Larry Nassar led several Australian athletes to speak out against the abuse by coaches and others managers.

According to the report, which issued 12 recommendations, efforts in the world of professional gymnastics to understand and prevent behaviors that lead to abuse are “insufficient”.

The Commission also stressed that the process of recruiting coaches should be monitored to ensure that the relationship with the minor is respectful and also pointed out the risks of the win at all costs mentality.

“[Gymnastics Australia] apologizes wholeheartedly to all athletes and family members who have suffered some form of abuse while participating in sport ”, read the Federationdeclaration of.

“While significant work has been undertaken in recent years to improve policies, education and supports for our athletes and coaches around child safety and athlete well-being, there is clearly more to do.

“The Gymnastics Australia The Board of Directors and management recognize that this work must be underpinned by transformational cultural change at all levels of gymnastics in Australia. “

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