Over seventy past and present Canadian gymnasts have penned a letter to Sport Canada regarding “ongoing toxic and abusive practices.”
The letter is on behalf of those athletes stepping forward, and claims they can “no longer sit in silence.”
“For almost a decade, the fear of retribution has prevented us and scores of other athletes from speaking out,” the letter reads.
“We are coming forward with our experiences of abuse, neglect, and discrimination in hope of forcing changes.
“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.”
Global Athlete has been asked to publish this letter on behalf over 70 Canadian Gymnasts, past and present, including Olympians and national team members.
"Gymnastics athletes call for independent, third-party investigation."@PascaleStOnge_ pic.twitter.com/NNTyGeXnCu
— Global Athlete (@GlobalAthleteHQ) March 28, 2022
The letter comes after many of the athletes felt failed by Gymnastics Canada, which failed to address the issues outlined.
“The current Board and CEO of GymCan have failed to address these issues and have failed to earn the trust and confidence of athletes,” the letter reads. “Their inability to adequately respond to ongoing systemic abuse, mistreatment, and discrimination is troubling.”
The athletes have called for an independent, third-party investigation.
It goes on to talk of the trauma many athletes are still dealing with as a result of the alleged abuse.
“Many athletes who have experienced abuse suffer significant ongoing psychological and physical consequences, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and chronic pain.
“We continue to suffer harm while participating in programs run by GymCan, the very organisation entrusted with developing and protecting us.”
The letter concludes with the gymnasts expressing solidarity with “our fellow athletes from other sports who have bravely called for change in similar ways”.