The head of the British Gymnastics Association, Mike Darcy, has apologized and admitted the organization had “disappointed” its members, after 37 former gymnasts denounced the harassment and abuse.
“As we reflect on some great moments at the Tokyo Olympics, we also have to recognize that, combined with the rapid growth of gymnastics over the past decade, our organization has, on many fronts, failed to sustain that growth,” Darcy said in a statement Tuesday night. 17.
“The board has done an evaluation process in recent months. It is clear that the management and the board of directors have not been able to get close enough to the gymnasts to understand their concerns, and our engagement with those raising concerns has not been good enough,” the text continues.
“We let them down and we feel deeply,” the manager added.
A lawsuit has been brought against the British federation by 37 former gymnasts, including three Olympic medalists, who claimed they were victims of physical and psychological abuse, which they described as systemic.
Darcy also recognized that the culture of training around gymnastics needed to change to ensure a less toxic environment for athletes.
“While we recognize that there are many good practices in sport in the UK, we must make it clear to all members that abusive practices, including injury training, abuse, yelling and questioning of weight, are not acceptable,” he said.
“We have to do better to ensure there is no room for abuse in our sport. We are determined and committed to change at British Gymnastics, and there is no need to wait” for the results of an internal investigation to do so, says Darcy.
For several months, retired and active gymnasts have deplored their training conditions around the world.
In the United States, Nassar’s case, referring to the title of a former team doctor who was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting more than 250 gymnasts, including Olympic medalist Simone Biles, since 2018 exposed the hidden face of the sport.
In Greece, former gymnasts denounce decades of “torture-like” mistreatment at the hands of their coaches.
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