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28 Mar, 2022 18:49

Athletes call for investigation into ‘systemic abuse’ at Gymnastics Canada

More than 70 gymnasts have made allegations against Gymnastics Canada including sexual abuse
Athletes call for investigation into ‘systemic abuse’ at Gymnastics Canada

A group of around 70 current and retired gymnasts have called for an independent investigation into governing body Gymnastics Canada over allegations that figures within the organization engaged in toxic and abusive behavior.

The group sent a co-signed letter this week informing Sport Canada director general Vicki Walker this week that a wide range of allegations had been made against coaches within the system.

The letter also stated that athletes had been afraid to speak out until now because they feared further abuse.

According to reports, the letter detailed a wave of complaints over alleged instances of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

It also stated that the alleged abusers were Canadian coaches within the system, many of whom had worked with minors.

"We can no longer sit in silence," the group collectively said. "We are coming forward with our experiences of abuse, neglect and discrimination in hopes of forcing change.

"We ask 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."

They added: "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 current board and CEO of GymCan (Gymnastics Canada) 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."

Gymnastics Canada have so far not responded to the allegations or the call for an independent probe.

The letter comes four years after USA Gymnastics doctor and masseuse Larry Nassar was imprisoned for in excess of 300 years after being found guilty of abusing at least 265 women under his care.

An investigation is also underway at British Gymnastics amid allegations that there was a culture of extreme mistreatment within the sport.

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