Monday, August 10, 2020

For flag and anthem

Olympic medallist Nile Wilson, who won bronze at Rio 2016, has criticised a "culture of abuse" in British gymnastics, saying athletes are "treated like pieces of meat".
He is the highest-profile male gymnast to speak out after the sport was hit by allegations of mistreatment.
Wilson told BBC Sport he was "scared" that publicly voicing concerns could cost him selection for the Tokyo Games. 
At times struggling to contain his emotions, Wilson said: "I believe there's a massive element of control. We're made to feel fear, or scared of speaking out, voicing our concerns, because they have us, our livelihoods, in their hands. If I voice my concern, I may affect my selection for Olympic Games. So, we stay quiet, we do what we're told."
 Wilson says he now wants to speak out about his experiences in the sport. This summer's release of the 'Athlete A' documentary detailing the cover-up of sexual abuse within the USA Gymnastics team has been a catalyst for allegations of mistreatment across the sport, including in the UK.
Wilson says it has made a deep impression on him, highlighting what he believes is a culture in which gymnasts are "pushed through physical pain" in the pursuit of medals.
"But we wanted to win medals. The governing body, the coaches, wanted to win Olympic medals. This culture of 'win at all costs'… I feel for many years emotional manipulation and being pushed through physical pain was certainly something I experienced. I think it was coaching methodology where we felt what it feels like to live in fear - you perform or there's a consequence. And I think that affects you emotionally more than anything. In fear of even being able to speak about something that hurts, or voice your concerns."
 "I have empathy for the system, because you're a coach wanting success and an athlete wanting success - the culture was already there, that's how it worked. And the parents and everyone, we were just like, 'this is gymnastics, this is normal'. And looking back, it made us into the athletes that we are today.,,But it was certainly apparent that culture existed and still exists today, which I definitely want to change."
"I would certainly say that I was abused. Without a doubt. I would absolutely describe it as a culture of abuse. And I've lived and breathed it for 20 years."
"That's one big change I want to see, so we feel like we can voice our opinions and not bottle them in and do what we're told, because we fear that we may not be selected.
"We're human beings. We are not pieces of meat and I want to continue to drive the change in the culture. It's about fun, having a smile on your face, wanting to work hard, being excited to achieve, not scared that there's going to be a consequence if you don't."

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