sport news IAN HERBERT: It's creepy how cowardly bosses at British Gymnastics sat back ... trends now

sport news IAN HERBERT: It's creepy how cowardly bosses at British Gymnastics sat back ... trends now
sport news IAN HERBERT: It's creepy how cowardly bosses at British Gymnastics sat back ... trends now

sport news IAN HERBERT: It's creepy how cowardly bosses at British Gymnastics sat back ... trends now

It is the weasel words of denial, issued by the faceless communications machinery of a sport too cowardly to answer for itself, which make the scandal of British Gymnastics all the more despicable.

We received them two years ago, when gymnast Catherine Lyons described being hit with a stick, shut in a room and half-starved while on an overseas training camp as a 10-year-old. When Lisa Mason told of being asked to take prescription-only Voltarol pain-killers.

When Nile Wilson spoke of feeling ‘completely worthless’ and ‘like a piece of meat’.

It was a cut and paste exercise as British Gymnastics tried to shut all this down. ‘We condemn any behaviour which is harmful’ and ‘we continually strive’, ‘a culture which is positive’ and ‘our Integrity Unit investigates’.

Well, the propaganda machine certainly won’t cut it this time. The British Gymnastics chief executive who presided over this culture, Jane Allen, retired when she saw the writing on the wall and is now half way around the world in Australia.

But QC Anne Whyte's report reveals something deeply unsettling, creepy and vile at the heart of gymnastics.

The British Gymnastics chief executive who presided over this culture, Jane Allen (pictured), retired when she saw the writing on the wall and is now half way around the world in Australia

The British Gymnastics chief executive who presided over this culture, Jane Allen (pictured), retired when she saw the writing on the wall and is now half way around the world in Australia

Most of this scandal’s victims are children. Fully 75 per cent of British Gymnastics members are under the age of 12.

In plain sight, as well as in the coaching gyms, it has been evident for years that this sport does not promote wellbeing.

No sooner has a young woman in a leotard completed a performance at the big televised events, like last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, than the camera crews are up close to her, zoning in.

That, in itself, is utterly inappropriate for an age when we say we understand child protection.

Most of this scandal’s victims are children - 75 per cent of British Gymnastics members are under the age of 12

Most of this scandal’s victims are children - 75 per cent of British Gymnastics members are under the age of 12 

But what Whyte has uncovered from behind closed doors — the withholding of food, denying access to toilets during training, reducing

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