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UK Sport launches investigations into claims that British gymnasts have been abused by their coaches

UK Sport launches investigation of ‘shocking and disturbing’ claims that British gymnasts have been abused by their coaches – calling on athletes to come forward with information

  • UK Sport is investigating claims British gymnasts were abused by their coaches
  • A series of accusations from gymnasts, including Catherine Lyons, have been made
  • Athletes have responded to social media and others are ready to speak out
  • British Gymnastics also confirmed that an independent investigation will be held

UK Sport has launched an urgent investigation into the ‘shocking and disturbing’ claims that dozens of British gymnasts have been physically and mentally abused by their coaches.

In response, British Gymnastics confirmed on Tuesday evening that there will also be an independent investigation into the mistreatment of athletes, following a series of astonishing claims from multiple gymnasts.

These include a former European youth champion, Catherine Lyons, who describes gripping incidents in which she says she was beaten with a cane and locked in a closet after crying while crying.

UK Sport is investigating claims that British gymnasts (such as Catherine Lyons, pictured) have been abused by their coaches

UK Sport is investigating claims that British gymnasts (such as Catherine Lyons, pictured) have been abused by their coaches

Weight shame is also often mentioned in the sport, according to Lyons, 19, and Lisa Mason, a gold medalist from the Commonwealth Games. In even more surprising claims, Mason, 38, said she was forced to exercise until her hands bled when she was 10, and in a tweet she claimed Tuesday that the sport is still being abused.

Mason claims that British Gymnastics, the body that oversees the sport, has not done enough to address the concerns.

In a tweet prior to a review announcement, she wrote, “I usually keep saying that BG is aware and is not doing anything.”

Lyon says she was beaten with a stick and locked in a closet after crying during training

Lyon says she was beaten with a stick and locked in a closet after crying during training

Lyon says she was beaten with a stick and locked in a closet after crying during training

Countless other British gymnasts have responded to social media, and others are expected to speak out – fueled by the Netflix documentary Athlete A, which described the poignant shortcomings that Dr. Larry Nassar admitted to sexually assaulting gymnasts in the U.S.

UK Sport, which has distributed £ 16.5 million in British gymnastics in the current Olympic cycle, called on athletes to come with information on Tuesday.

A UK Sport spokesperson said, “These allegations are shocking and disturbing. There is absolutely no place for bullying or abuse in sport, and anyone responsible for such behavior should be held accountable, with support for those affected.

“We treat protection of the utmost importance and all our investments in national governing bodies depend on a sport that meets the standards set by the Child Protection in Sport Department.

Weight shame is also common in sports, according to Lyons and Lisa Mason (photo)

Weight shame is also common in sports, according to Lyons and Lisa Mason (photo)

Weight shame is also common in sports, according to Lyons and Lisa Mason (photo)

Athletes are ready to speak out - sparked by the documentary detailing the shortcomings that caused Dr.  Larry Nassar gymnasts were sexually abused in the US

Athletes are ready to speak out - sparked by the documentary detailing the shortcomings that caused Dr.  Larry Nassar gymnasts were sexually abused in the US

Athletes are ready to speak out – sparked by the documentary detailing the shortcomings that caused Dr. Larry Nassar gymnasts were sexually abused in the US

“The integrity of the premium system is paramount, which is why we work quickly but thoroughly to establish the facts with British Gymnastics before deciding on the right response.

“It is essential that all athletes feel comfortable sharing their concerns in a safe and confidential environment. The British Athletes Commission is available to all athletes and provides independent, confidential advice and support that we urgently want to use for athletes. ‘

British Gymnastics previously condemned “any behavior detrimental to the well-being of our gymnasts” and announced an independent review on Tuesday led by Jane Mulcahy QC.

Jane Allen, CEO of British Gymnastics, said: ‘The behavior we’ve heard about is completely against our standards of safe coaching and it doesn’t belong in our sport. The British Gymnastics Integrity Unit was established to investigate allegations when reported or identified by our national network of club and regional welfare officials.

Becky Downie, who won world silver last year, urged coaches to prioritize the wellbeing of athletes

Becky Downie, who won world silver last year, urged coaches to prioritize the wellbeing of athletes

Becky Downie, who won world silver last year, urged coaches to prioritize the wellbeing of athletes

“However, it is clear that gymnasts did not feel they could raise concerns about British Gymnastics and it is essential that an independent assessment helps us better understand why so that we can remove any obstacles.”

Becky Downie, who won world silver last year, tweeted, “All those gymnasts I know still hurt, I can honestly say team camps and most gym workouts aren’t the way they were. You wouldn’t believe the positive changes.

Unfortunately, coaches still copy old behaviors, knowing that many top coaches still use those methods to get results. If we start with athletes’ well-being for results, we will see a change. ‘

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