Former Bristol gymnast says British Gymnastic magazine highlights “a systemic and sport-wide problem”


Bristol gymnast says latest UK gymnastics criticism following a series of allegations of abuse says it has highlighted “a systemic and sport-wide problem”.

The findings were contained in an interim report by the journal Whyte, which is investigating the governing body.

Up to 39 of the cases that were discovered were so serious that they were reported to authorities due to suspicion of criminal conduct or children at risk.

Nicole Pavier, who is one of the gymnasts involved in the legal proceedings against British Gymnastics, told ITV News that the report’s findings came as no surprise to those involved in the sport or those who have been abused.

She also added that while it is important that the issue is finally highlighted, it was “a great shame that it was not looked at sooner”.

“Protection needs to be at the heart of what we do when working with children and young adults.

“I think the extent to which this has not been a priority is evidenced by the number of cases that had to be referred to local protection authorities and which had not been referred at the time of the incidents. “

Almost 400 people contributed to the Whyte review which heard of “recurring issues” with bullying, extreme weight management and using excessive physical force, among other complaints.

About 1,000 out of 3,500 possible cases have been examined Credit: AP Images

Over 90 clubs and 100 coaches have been identified in submissions that range from Olympic level to local sport level.

A call for papers in fall 2020 “exceeded expectations” and the full report is now expected to be completed by the end of August, just after the Tokyo Olympics.

One of the reasons it is taking so long is reviewing past complaints.

British Gymnastics estimates to have up to 3,500 closed files during the years 2008-2020. It was only able to provide information on the 1,000 most recent cases due to changes to its case management system.

Nicole says that she and other gymnasts who have spoken out want to protect the gymnasts of the future, “nothing will change what happened to me when I was a gymnast, but knowing that we have used our experiences to change the sport and Making it safer for future gymnasts is all that any of us really want. “

Jane Allen took over as CEO of British Gymnastics in 2010. Credit: AP Images

Alastair Marks, Acting CEO of British Gymnastics, who took over from Jane Allen in January, said: “British Gymnastics welcomes the Whyte Review Interim Report. We are fully committed to doing all we can to help the Journal get the answers it needs to do what is right for sport and gymnasts. .

“I remain appalled at the claims I have heard and alarmed that some gymnasts do not feel that they can make their voices heard and have a future in sport. I want to be clear to them that I will fight so that no one else does. raises concerns that their gymnastics opportunities will never be negatively affected.

“There is no room for abuse in our sport and we are determined and determined to change it for the better.

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