The earth championship medallists Becky and Ellie Downie have joined the team of gymnasts speaking out about surprising abuse in the British team in a devastating statement which said “cruel” behaviour was “so ingrained in our every day lives that it turned totally normalised”.
The sisters, who are regarded as Team GB’s very best woman gymnastics medal hopes at subsequent year’s Tokyo Olympics, explained they experienced faced “an atmosphere of fear and psychological abuse”, with continuous questioning of their pounds and perspective, as very well as a amount of above-teaching so severe their bodies continuously broke down.
Ellie Downie, who in 2017 grew to become the initially British gymnast to acquire a main all-about title at the European championships, exposed she would not try to eat or consume the night prior to weigh-in working day and was at the time informed by a mentor that she “hoped the painkillers I was keeping for an harm have been food plan pills”.
She included: “The hardly ever-ending concentration about my fat will go away scars which will under no circumstances be healed, I suspect.”
Reflecting on their early encounters in the sport, both equally sisters explained: “We definitely did not realise how mistaken it was at the time. It is taken a long time and years to have an understanding of and appear to phrases with it.
“While exact experiences of course differ … for too lengthy, the health and wellbeing of youthful ladies has been of secondary worth to a dated, cruel, and – we’d argue – often ineffective society inside of women’s gymnastics schooling.”
Becky Downie, who has gained 14 major medals for Staff GB and England throughout a glittering profession, described how she had been “trained to the stage of actual physical breakdown” on quite a few instances, ahead of admitting: “Only in modern years I have understood properly the mental affect that’s experienced on me.”
She additional: “As not too long ago as 2018, and offered I was by this issue a very senior athlete, I tried to talk up at a countrywide camp about what I considered was an unsafe approach to my particular schooling. I was shot down, named ‘mentally weak’, and instructed the personal injury agony concentrations I was going through were being in my head.
“Just 12 days afterwards, at the European championships, my ankle broke down nevertheless again a immediate consequence of the unsafe coaching I attempted to provide up much less than a fortnight earlier.”
Meanwhile her more youthful sister Ellie stated she had regularly been built to really feel “ashamed” about her bodyweight. “From 14 many years old I’ve been instructed to eating plan continuously,” she claimed. “At 1 time at this age, once more immediately after getting told I was way too large, I was explained to by a nutritionist to supply food items diaries of every little thing that entered my mouth and ship everyday shots of me in my underwear to be certain I was not lying.
“There are numerous illustrations of this conduct I can reference, but I vividly remember remaining told as a younger teenager at a national camp to eliminate 6kg in two weeks or ‘there’d be consequences’.”
The Downie sisters claimed they had determined to converse out next the lead of other gymnasts before this week such as the British Olympians Francesca Fox, who was constantly instructed she was “fat” and “looked like a hippo” and Lisa Mason, who stated she experienced been frequently designed to train until eventually her fingers ripped and bled and called for the main government of GB Gymnastics, Jane Allen, to phase down. A third major gymnast has claimed she was locked in a cupboard by her coach as a 10-12 months-aged.
The Downies concluded their statement by expressing that the lifestyle in British Gymnastics had improved in new yrs right after they experienced spoken out in private, and that because 2018 they had been no more time routinely weighed.
British Gymnastics, which has released an independent inquiry into the abuse scandal, was given progress detect of the statement but said it experienced no comment at this phase.