- EWC Community
British Gymnastics Must Stop Treating Kids Badly
By: Jayden Lu
In the past, British gymnastic coaches have found that lots of children were injured or punished by other coache’s for not being able to do certain moves or tasks in the gym. It also gave them pressure because if they cried or refused to perform a skill in training then they would be forced to do things like stand on a beam for an hour or sit in store cupboards.
British Gymnastics said it wanted to "wholeheartedly apologize" for what has happened, but some charities were disappointed and wanted more to be done, including limits on the number of hours child athletes can train.
Anne Whyte’s report also found lots of cases of children not being properly looked after, being treated inappropriately and not being kept safe. The boss of British Gymnastics, Sarah Powell, who has been working since October 2021, said what those athletesaltheas experienced was not acceptable: "British Gymnastics accepts all of the recommendations and key findings. We will not shy away from doing what is needed.”
Sarah Powell also said "I want to wholeheartedly apologize to the gymnasts/athletes who have suffered as a result of us not working to the standards we set ourselves. We are sorry... We will change gymnastics for the better.""
The former boss of British Gymnastics, Jane Allen, who retired in December 2020, was criticized in the report for a "lack of leadership" and for her "failure" to look after athlete welfare enough. In a statement, she said she was "deeply sorry for not doing more for everyone - especially the young athletes - to feel supported, and to be able to speak up and heard".
UK Sport and Sport England said they "welcomed" the report and accepted its recommendations for how to help the athletes – and also addeding that to keep getting funding, so now British Gymnastics will have to show changes being made to help the young athletes.