London. The president of the British Gymnastics Association, Mike Darcy, has apologized and admitted the body had “failed” its members, after 37 former gymnasts reported they had been harassed and mistreated.
“As we reflect on some great moments from Tokyo 2020, we also recognize that along with the rapid growth of gymnastics over the past decade, our organization has failed, on many fronts, to sustain that growth,” Darcy said in a statement.
“The board has been conducting an evaluation process in recent months. The board of directors and the board of directors have failed to get close enough to the gymnasts to understand their concerns.”
“We let them down and we deeply regret that,” Darcy added. A lawsuit has been brought against the British federation by 37 former gymnasts, including three Olympic medalists, who said they suffered physical and psychological abuse, which they described as systematic.
Darcy also recognized that the culture of training around gymnastics needed to change to ensure a less toxic environment for athletes.
“While there are many good practices in sport in the UK, we must make it clear to all members that abusive acts, including injury training, abuse, yelling and weight shaming, are not acceptable,” he said.
For months, retired and active gymnasts have decried their training conditions around the world. In the United States, Nassar’s case, after the last name of a former women’s team doctor sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting more than 250 gymnasts, including star Simone Biles, since 2018 exposed the hidden face of discipline.
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