Canadian gymnasts call for investigation into abusive practices

A group of more than 70 Canadian gymnasts, including active and retired athletes, have publicly called for an investigation into “abusive practices” within gymnastics in the country.

Athletes who are or have been members of Canada’s Olympic teams said in a letter sent Monday (3/28) to the general director of Sport Canada (the equivalent of the country’s Olympic Committee), Vicki Walker, that for nearly For a decade, fear of reprisals kept them from protesting.

“We can no longer remain silent. We are sharing our experiences of abuse, neglect and discrimination in hopes of enacting change,” the letter states. “We ask you to take action to ensure that the next generation of Canadian gymnasts is not subjected to the physical and psychological trauma that we have had to endure.”

According to the athletes, several complaints of emotional, physical and sexual abuse have been reported over the years. Most of them involved Canadian coaches, who performed the acts even when the athletes were minors.

The gymnasts also requested that the results of the investigations, if they occur, be revealed to the public and that the identity and anonymity of the athletes be protected.

“We know there are many other examples of harm that have yet to come to light, and we know that abusive behavior continues in gyms across the country today. The current board has failed to resolve these issues and has failed to earn the trust of athletes,” they said in the letter.

In March last year, former Canadian women’s gymnastics coach Dave Brubaker was banned from the sport following investigations. Although he was cleared in 2019 following allegations of sexual assault and exploitation, the gymnastics committee said Brubaker violated the Canadian sports code of ethics and punished the coach.

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Benjamin Allen

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