Gymnasts Worldwide Push Back on Their Sport’s Culture of Abuse

The New York Times

August 3, 2020

By Juliet Macur

On Instagram and other social networks, gymnasts have tagged posts with #GymnastAlliance to share their own experiences in the wake of a new documentary that highlights verbal and physical abuse by coaches.

A culture in gymnastics that has tolerated coaches belittling, manipulating and in some cases physically abusing young athletes is being challenged by Olympians and other gymnasts around the world after an uprising in the United States.

Many current and former competitors, emboldened by their American peers, have broken their silence in recent weeks against treatment they say created mental scars on girls that lasted well into adulthood.

One gymnast, who is just 8 years old, said a coach tied her wrists to a horizontal bar when she was 7 and ignored her as she cried out in pain.

At a time when the Tokyo Olympics would be in session, had they not been postponed until 2021 by the coronavirus pandemic, gymnasts have been sharing horrific stories of coaches body-shaming them, stifling their emotions, using corporal punishment on them and forcing them to train with injuries, using the pursuit of medals as a way to rationalize shameful behavior.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.