Two-thirds of former gymnasts in the Netherlands suffered physical abuse – Journal Valley Bugler
According to a study published on Wednesday by the Royal Netherlands Gymnastics Federation, two-thirds of former gymnasts in the Netherlands have suffered some form of abuse during their athletic careers.
Behaviors highlighted by study participants included humiliation, name calling, negative criticism of coworkers, intimidation, extortion and, in some cases, physical abuse, according to the 410-page report titled “Uneven bars”.
“In conversations with former athletes, it becomes clear that awareness of being a victim of unacceptable treatment only arises when they give up sport,” explains the study cited by the Spanish news agency EFE.
“Very young athletes spend long hours of intense training with the coach,” which creates a power relationship between them that becomes “a risk factor,” the study said.
About 7% of respondents said they had experienced sexual intimidation such as touching, inappropriate comments or harassment from social media. However, none of the respondents said they were forced to have sex.
The Royal Netherlands Gymnastics Federation has announced that it will adopt the recommendations contained in the report, such as the presence of supervisors during training or the inclusion of educational issues in the training of coaches.
The study is published after former Dutch gymnasts like Joy Goedkoop, Loes Linders and Stephanie Tijmes announced they had been assaulted by coach Vincent Wevers.
The revelations were made last summer and three weeks ago Wevers was pulled from the national team and will not be competing in the Olympics.