“Please know that I hate doing this in public...”
September 30, 2020 12:26 PM   Subscribe

In January of 2020, British gymnast and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Amy Tinkler surprised the gymnastics world by abruptly retiring from the sport. At the time, it was widely assumed that her retirement was due to persistent complications from a 2018 ankle injury - but in July of 2020, she revealed that she’d retired due to experiences she’d had with national coaches and with her former gymnastics club, and she’d submitted formal complaints to governing body British Gymnastics. Tinkler’s revelations led to an avalanche of horrifying stories from other gymnasts and more formal complaints to BG and the English Institute of Sport.

Other gymnasts with her former club began to come forward with their own stories, and current Team GB members Nile Wilson and the Downie sisters began to speak out as well.

Far from being the reckoning that gymnasts hoped for and in some cases outright called for, however, the complaints are being dismissed, and in some cases such as Tinkler’s, the gymnast isn’t even being notified of the dismissal.

In a Twitter posting today, Tinkler has had enough, and it is a rough read, with more to come: As promised, here is the first of many examples of my experiences I plan to share in the coming weeks...
posted by angeline (13 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Is there anywhere else we can read the Twitter posting? It is a typed-up account posted as two image files on Twitter, but the print is too small to read.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:45 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]

You have a point, and I’m sorry - I wanted to link directly to her own words for that part of the post. I haven’t found a transcript yet, I will keep looking or type it up myself. But the upshot is she had a meeting and scans with a nutritionist, the nutritionist sent the results email to Amy and her coach, and the coach replied with a request for clarity on Amy’s weight and when assured it was fine he said, “It’s great when someone turns the light on! I will get back to my skiing knowing that Amy is not turning into a fat dwarf!”

When called out, he did not apologize.
posted by angeline at 12:57 PM on September 30

It's super frustrating that zooming in on twitter doesn't resize the image! However, if you "copy image location" and open that address, you can zoom in. first image; second image.
posted by solotoro at 1:37 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]

It's as if gymnastics orgs the world over took notes on Béla Károlyi 's methods in the 1970s and copied them exactly, complete with the built-in abuse.
posted by scruss at 1:50 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]

(or right click on full photo -> View Image)
posted by trig at 1:51 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]

I quickly ran the pages through OCR, hopefully that can improve their accessibility.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:58 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]

We know enough now to presume that any activity involving a power imbalance between young women and old men is going to involve abusive.

Next up - ballet!

Oh wait, that's already kicking off.
posted by happyinmotion at 2:00 PM on September 30 [12 favorites]

Can someone enlighten this American as to what "A about F" means?
posted by muddgirl at 2:18 PM on September 30

Arse about Face.
posted by misteraitch at 2:27 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]

Thank you, BungaDunga and solotoro, that was so helpful!
posted by angeline at 2:35 PM on September 30

Thanks for the translation!

There could not be a bigger contrast between the nutritionist who was sensitive, encouraging, and professional, vs. the national coach.

Also in the nutritionist's email, the double exclamation points following 41.8kg do a lot of work.
posted by muddgirl at 2:57 PM on September 30

I can't even be shocked any more (also see cheerleader thread). It's what I expect. The only slight surprise here is that British gymnastics is still getting away with it after the US blowup.

It's as if gymnastics orgs the world over took notes on Béla Károlyi 's methods in the 1970s and copied them exactly, complete with the built-in abuse.

Of course they did, because it worked.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:15 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]

At this point, I don't understand why any parent lets their child participate in high-level sports.

I don't know if it is endemic in the type of people attracted to coaching at that level or if it is something fundamentally broken in the selection process, but I feel like it would be smarter just to assume abuse exists within any program.
posted by madajb at 4:50 PM on September 30 [10 favorites]

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