Canada: 70+ gymnasts speak out against 'toxic culture and abusive practices'
Current and former Canadian gymnasts speak out about abuse, neglect, and discrimination in their sport, calling on Sport Canada to take action.
More than 70 current and ex-Canadian gymnasts have called Monday for an investigation into the “toxic culture and abusive practices” overwhelming their sport in Canada, reported The Guardian.
In a letter sent to Sport Canada’s Director-General Vicki Walker, the gymnasts said fear of being punished has prevented them from speaking out for almost a decade.
“We can no longer sit in silence,” the gymnasts - who are current and former Olympic and national team members - underlined, adding, “We are coming forward with our experiences of abuse, neglect, and discrimination in hopes of forcing change."
The letter called on "Sport Canada to take action to ensure the next generation of Canadian gymnasts is not subject to the physical and psychological trauma that we have had to endure.”
"According to the letter, there have been multiple complaints and arrests for various forms of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and that the subject of the complaints have been Canadian coaches, many of whom the athletes were exposed to as minors," The Guardian pointed out.
“We know that there are many more examples of harm that have not yet come to light, and we know that abusive behaviors continue in gyms across this country today,” the gymnasts expressed in the letter.
The Canadian gymnasts considered that “the current Board and CEO of GymCan have failed to address these issues and have failed to earn the trust and confidence of athletes."
"Their inability to adequately respond to ongoing systemic abuse, mistreatment, and discrimination is troubling,” they concluded.