UK gymnastics chairman Mike Darcey wrote an open letter to members saying the organization “is deeply sorry” for ignoring the abusive culture in sport.
In February, a group of 17 former gymnasts – including three Olympians – filed a “complaint” with the national governing body alleging that they had been physically and mentally abused by coaches.
The allegations in the lawsuit include “improper use of physical force by coaches against gymnasts that constitutes physical assault”.
In March, an interim report on allegations of physical and emotional abuse found that nearly 400 applications had been submitted to the independent review and 39 cases had been referred to legal authorities.
Darcey released a statement on the matter on Tuesday which said, “When we think about some great moments from the Tokyo Olympics, we must also acknowledge that, in addition to the rapid growth of gymnastics over the past decade, our organization has been involved in several Fronts, couldn’t keep up with this growth.
“The board of directors has taken stock of the past few months. It is evident that the leadership team and board of directors were not close enough to the gymnastics community to understand your concerns, and our commitment to those who raised concerns was not good enough.
“We have let you down and we are deeply sorry. While we recognize that there are many good practices in sport in the UK, we need to make it clear to all Members that abusive practices, including training, result in injury, bullying, screaming and Weight shaming are not acceptable.
“Such practices in gymnastics are becoming increasingly well known, also worldwide. The independent Whyte Review was commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England with a description of services aimed at making recommendations for improvements and changes. We welcome this review.
“We need to get better at making sure there is no room for abuse in our sport. We are determined and determined to change within British Gymnastics and there is no need to wait for the Whyte Review reports to begin . “
After the allegations were first made public last year, British Gymnastics executive director Jane Allen resigned and was replaced by Sarah Powell in June.
“The board understands the anger in the community,” added Darcey. “This was a very difficult time for the sport. We know that announcing these changes alone does not earn trust – trust is only earned by acting consistently over time.
“Working with the management team, we’re focused on delivering for you and we’re committed to transforming the culture at the heart of British Gymnastics to ensure that there is no excuse for bad gymnastics at any level. “
British athletes came forward last year following allegations of abuse in gymnastics in the United States.
Larry Nassar, who served as the USA Gymnastics team doctor for years, used medical treatment as an excuse to harass hundreds of young athletes. In 2018 he was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in prison.