The scale of physical and emotional abuse in British gymnastics was exposed in an independent report.


The culture of fear within British gymnastics has been exposed in a devastating report which revealed that children under the age of seven have been subjected to unusual levels of physical and emotional abuse in the system which He preferred medals for the welfare of the athletes.

The Independent Whyte Review, commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England in 2020 at a cost of 3 million, has received more than 400 submissions following allegations of widespread abuse in the media, which may be related to a British Olympic Games. Is the most damaging report ever written.

In a painful 300-page document, QCN White describes how some coaches have “blocked access to food, water and toilets.” [facilities] During training sessions, use methods that cause athletes to experience “excessive physical pain and fatigue.”

In one case, an athlete was forced to climb a rope as punishment for needing a toilet brake, while another was accused of physically slapping White for not paying attention.

A former elite athlete was held on a beam for two hours after being intimidated into trying a particular skill, while the report also states that Submissions, sometimes in great distress. “

In a particularly serious reference to the practice of ‘stretching’, the report reads: The coaches pushed their child’s legs down together. An international gymnast explained that his personal coach sat on the lower back of a gymnast, his legs lying on the floor and then raising his knees. Caused severe pain.

Another gymnast said he did not know how his legs did not explode when his legs were stretched.

More than half of all submissions for emotional abuse, such as “screaming, abusing, naming and using foul language”, are accompanied by “excessive controlling behavior.”

It has a lot to do with weight management, with some athletes “cleansing themselves or dehydrating” and resorting to “disturbing strategies to hide food”. One player reported wrapping grain bars inside his socks and underwear, while another hid food on the roof tiles.

“The level of emotional abuse at clubs was much higher than the definition of British gymnastics,” White said.

There were more than 30 references to sexual abuse, although the report concluded that, unlike psychological and emotional events, “none of these behaviors appear to be military.”

The report lists 17 recommendations that British Gymnastics has already pledged to implement. These include the introduction of the Director of Education to oversee the training of coaches and improvements in safety practices, the establishment of more complete recordings of complaints to identify “patterns of behavior”, and the provision to all high-performing athletes and their parents. To do With access to a dedicated welfare officer from outside your club.

The review, which covered three Olympic cycles between 2008 and 2020, called for evidence from all levels of the sport, but on the performance of the elite, said UK Sport – an umbrella organization that manages all individual sports. Supervises institutions and distributes their funding. Acknowledging that athlete welfare was not a ‘front seat’ in the culture of British gymnastics until 2017.

The report states that UK Sport’s “Mission Process”, a method of reviewing the progress of individual sports before the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Games, “does not address any of the negative cultural concerns in any sport during the last three Olympics.” Should point out. ” , But concluded: “The mission process, with any consistency, did not accurately reflect the state of the world-class gymnastics program as far as athletes’ well-being and culture were concerned.

“The rude interpretation is that the mission was a window dressing for sports like gymnastics, where medals were realistically expected and that medals were more important than amber ratings and the well-being of athletes. . “

Gymnastics will be different because of the bravery of the speaking youth.

However, Sporty Mande, CEO of UK Sport, denied that the results pointed to a broader cultural issue within the British Olympic Games, saying: “We reject the notion that for medals Sometimes there is cash. “

Munde also apologized for the organisation’s failure to recognize “long-standing cultural issues in gymnastics.”

“There is no question that what we have read in this report is disturbing and disturbing,” he added. “And no athlete, no gymnast, or person should face such abuse. No one should.”

The report also criticized the leadership of British gymnastics during the review period. Former CEO Jane Allen was allowed to retire from the post at the end of 2020 after more than a decade, the new chief Sarah Powell was appointed last year, while head national coach Amanda Redden resigned. He had consented to leave last month. Allen denies any connection between the abuse scandal and his retirement.

Powell, who previously served as CEO of Sport Wales, said: They have suffered, it is not acceptable. ” . “It’s emotional for me. I’m a mom and the game shouldn’t do that.

“This is a real apology, from the game, from myself, from the leadership. We have to set a new path, a new roadmap. Gymnastics will be different because of the bravery of the speaking youth.”

In his report, White said he is confident that under his new leadership, the game of gymnastics is already undergoing a transformation for the better, but is too big on the accountability of those overseeing the most embarrassing scandal in the organization’s history. Questions remain.

British Gymnastics has been asked to issue updates on its progress at intervals of six, 12 and 24 months, and if it fails to comply with the report’s recommendations, it may face a reduction in funding. May fall