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Gymnastics: Do you get déjà vu?


March 30, 2022

The GIST: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before but another abuse scandal is rocking the gymnastics world, with over 70 current and former Canadian gymnasts calling for an independent, third-party investigation into their sporting body.

The latest: As discussed in yesterday’s episode of The GIST of It, the gymnasts published an open letter on Monday, alleging “ongoing toxic and abusive practices” within Gymnastics Canada (GymCan).

  • Athletes claim that GymCan failed to address numerous complaints made over the last five years and even note that arrests were made in relation to abuse allegations against Canadian coaches. Alarming.
  • GymCan published a response yesterday, saying they were “saddened” to learn of athletes’ experiences and committing to an independent cultural review. We’ll see how that goes…

Zooming out: GymCan is the fourth Canadian organization to recently come under scrutiny, with athletes from Rowing Canada, Rugby Canada and Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (who Canadian gymnasts shout-out in their letter) all bravely sharing similar allegations within the last 12 months.

  • And the story is stunningly familiar across the global gymnastics landscape, with ubiquitous stories of abuse within USA Gymnastics. Changes in leadership structure are a start, but it’s far past time for systemic, cultural change on an international scale.