“This can be a landmark second in our marketing campaign for justice,” Claire Heafford, a former elite gymnast and one of many 17 claimants, stated within the assertion.
“This isn’t and has no means been about just a few dangerous apples, that is about many years of systemic abuse, inspired and lined up these on the high.
“The hopes and goals of numerous kids and younger adults of competing as skilled gymnasts have been destroyed and their love for the game is now shrouded in concern and struggling. My coronary heart goes out to everybody who has felt this ache and haven’t but spoken out — we wish you to know that we’re right here, preventing in your facet.”
In a press release despatched to CNN, British Gymnastics stated: “We took receipt of the Letter Earlier than Motion on the afternoon of 25th February. It could not be acceptable or truthful to all events for us to make any remark till we’ve got had the chance for it to be absolutely thought of. “
The claimants, who’re all girls, allege the abuse happened at golf equipment throughout the UK, all of which had been affiliated with British Gymnastics, in keeping with the assertion from Hausfeld.
The claimants, who had been between the ages of six and 23 on the time, allege bodily abuse included “inappropriate use of bodily power coaches in opposition to gymnasts constituting bodily assault,” strain on gymnasts to proceed coaching whereas injured and “abusive and dangerous teaching methods which don’t have any justification in science or principle,” as detailed within the assertion.
The Letter Earlier than Motion cites “constant experiences of coaches slapping, pushing, and utilizing bodily power to reprimand, punish, stretch, and/or ‘appropriate’ gymnasts throughout coaching.”
The claimants additionally allege coaches “excessively managed” gymnasts’ diets and engaged in “widespread bullying and intimidation behaviour” in opposition to gymnasts and oldsters.
“The give attention to weight served to create a tradition of ‘physique shaming’ for gymnasts,” states the Letter Earlier than Motion despatched to British Gymnastics.
The Hausfeld assertion says in almost all circumstances, the alleged abuse has left gymnasts with lasting psychological and bodily harm, together with melancholy, nervousness and post-traumatic stress dysfunction.
The letter follows the launching of a strain marketing campaign referred to as Gymnasts for Change Heafford and Olympic gymnast Jennifer Pinches in 2020.
“For too lengthy we’ve got seen British Gymnastics prioritise podiums over folks, which has led to untold harm to the lives of younger folks,” Pinches stated within the Hausfeld assertion.
“It’s a heart-breaking reality to face, figuring out the extent of abuse that we and so many others had been subjected to. That is only the start of the sweeping adjustments that we’re demanding, and the justice that we’ll combat for.”
In December, the CEO of British Gymnastics, Jane Allen, retired amid an unbiased inquiry into allegations of abuse within the sport.
Allen lauded the gymnasts who had spoken out about abuse as “very courageous” in an October interview with the BBC and acknowledged the group had “‘fallen quick’ in defending its athletes.”