Canadian gymnasts sue sports authorities over alleged abuse

A group of Canadian gymnasts filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the national federation (Gymnastics Canada) and provincial gymnastics bodies for tolerating a climate of abuse and mistreatment for decades.

“This action stems from the physical, sexual and psychological abuse of gymnasts in Canada while in the care and control of the provincial gymnastics organization in their jurisdiction and Gymnastics Canada.”points to a copy of the document obtained by AFP.

“Globally, the sport of gymnastics is under the spotlight for its culture of cruelty”pointed out plaintiffs’ attorneys, noting that “a culture of control” Yes “Abusive behaviors have led to the creation of an environment in which abuse and mistreatment of athletes is common.”

The complaint was filed with the British Columbia Supreme Courtthe westernmost province of Canadawhere does the principal plaintiff, a former gymnast, live Amelie Cline.

After giving up the sport as a teenager, wink said he was taking legal action to “hold these institutions accountable” for the abuses committed.

In an interview with AFP, wink he said to suffer “the lingering long-term effects…of this abuse”including chronic physical and psychological pain.

The lawsuit names the national gymnastics federation, as well as the federations of six of Canada’s ten provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

This legal action comes just over a month after a group of more than 70 gymnasts, many of whom have already left the competition, published an open letter denouncing a “Toxic culture and persistent abusive practices in Canadian gymnastics”.

The letter, which has already collected more than 400 signatures, asks the federal government to order an independent investigation after the group responsible for the campaign Gymnasts for Change says he “didn’t go anywhere” in his attempt to get Gymnastics Canada conduct an internal investigation and respond to your concerns.

“All disciplines, rhythmic, acrobatic, artistic, tumbling and trampoline, are, to some extent, affected by this culture… and by the mastery that coaches have developed over the decades”said the group’s spokeswoman, Kim Shore.

“The accountability system must change”he pointed out.

© Agence France-Presse

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