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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Australian athletes abused

The blog has posted on the abuse of female athletes in the UK and in Japan and now stories are emerging from Australia of similar behaviour. 

Dozens of Australia's former top gymnasts have spoken out to allege instances of mental and physical abuse within the nation's elite programme. Many argued that coaches normalised a "toxic" environment.
Generations of former gymnasts have posted publicly about damaging experiences. Their allegations include:
  • Pressure over their weight and incidents of food deprivation; some detailed experiences with bulimia
  • Pressure to train and perform through injuries such as broken bones
  • Being coerced to perform stunts beyond their ability
  • Widespread violations of adult-child supervision guidelines
  • A "toxic" environment of criticism and negativity
Chloe Gilliland, a gold medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, said she had felt depressed and anxious at her "peak", and left the sport for her own wellbeing when she was 17. She said was regularly insulted by her coaches, called stupid and overweight, and isolated from her teammates. She added she had suicidal thoughts.
Olivia Vivian, who began in the sport when she was nine, said she learnt as a child to hide experiences from her parents. She represented Australia at the 2008 Olympics but after reaching that level became "a broken athlete and a broken person," she wrote.
 Many said they wished to change the environment for other children and teenagers currently in the sport.
"I am scared to share my story, but at some point, someone has to stand up for the athletes," said Mary-Anne Monckton, who won two silver medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. "The abuse (physical, mental and emotional) needs to stop, or at least be stamped out of our sport," she said.
A young South Korean triathlete has taken her own life after lodging a number of complaints over alleged abuse from her coaching staff.
Choi Suk-hyeon, 22, said she endured years of abuse, but that her complaints to sporting authorities were ignored, reports say. She was selected for the national triathlon team in 2015 as a teenager. A number of sportswomen have reported abuse in South Korea over the years.
All this abuse for the sake of promoting national prestige by gaining medals in international competitions. 

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