Amy Tinkler calls for action against abusers in wake of Whyte Review

The Independent
The Independent

Gymnastics will not be safe until action has been taken against the perpetrators of the abuse identified by the Whyte Review, Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler has said.

The review found athletes were subjected to systemic abuse, and that British Gymnastics enabled a toxic culture where profit and medals were prioritised over safeguarding .

Anne Whyte QC identified a reluctance from the governing body to intervene over weight-management techniques, which she described as the “tyranny of the scales”.

Tinkler said she was a victim of weight-shaming and, in September 2020, shared an e-mail chain in which her weight was discussed by a coach and a nutritionist.

Tinkler, who won a floor exercise bronze at the Rio Games in 2016, published a statement on social media welcoming the review but calling for clarity on what British Gymnastics and funding body UK Sport would now do with the evidence of abuse that had been gathered.

“It feels good to have affirmation that I, and others, are telling the truth,” she wrote.

“Since taking the decision to inform British Gymnastics of my experience two and a half years ago I’ve been made to feel like an outcast, a liar. Society knows we shouldn’t treat whistleblowers like this and I hope BG starts to engage with us, rather than keeping us at arm’s length.

I am concerned as to why there are no reports of actions or remedies taking place in regards to the abusers, whether they be coaches or support staff, they need to be removed from the sport

Amy Tinkler

“We’re not the enemy, we’re the ones that want to make sure gymnastics is a safe, secure and spectacular sport for all. Talk to us.

“There is no way such a volume of abuse could occur without there being abusers. I am concerned as to why there are no reports of actions or remedies taking place in regards to the abusers, whether they be coaches or support staff,  they need to be removed from the sport.

“So I ask BG, UK Sport and Sport England to urgently update the gymnastics community on whether any actions have been taken against the abusers reported in the Whyte Review.

“Otherwise how am I to know, or any gymnast or parent of a gymnast, whether the same abusers will still be in the gym the next time we go in there?

“Until we have clarity on this I don’t see how we can move forward as a sport in a safe, secure and enjoyable way.”

Former England gymnast Nicole Pavier, who suffered abuse at two clubs in different parts of the country, called for a more open approach to safeguarding and suggested clubs should hold a register listing any allegations that had been made against coaches working there.

“We are potentially setting families up for a fall with them not having the knowledge and the power to make those decisions,” she said.

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