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British Gymnastics: IOC President Thomas Bach speaks out over bullying claims

Beth Tweddle: "You should never be afraid to talk and it hurts me to learn that gymnasts have not felt like they can do this"

Thomas Bach
Image: IOC President Thomas Bach says they will do all they can in alleged cases of abuse and harassment of athletes

International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach has spoken out on the allegations of bullying within British gymnastics, stating that abuse of any kind is "clearly against everything we stand for".

Amy Tinkler became the latest elite or former elite GB gymnast to criticise the bullying and abuse culture in the sport when she spoke out on Tuesday, following the statement issued by the Downie sisters, Becky and Ellie, late last week.

Gymnasts from all ages and levels of the sport have gone public to reveal instances of bullying and abuse which have prompted British Gymnastics to launch an independent review.

On Wednesday, the national governing body for the sport confirmed it had revoked the membership of acrobatics coach Neil Griffiths.

Tinkler: Bad experiences made me quit gymnastics
Tinkler: Bad experiences made me quit gymnastics

Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler felt she had no option but to quit gymnastics due to her negative experiences in the sport.

The allegations centred around British Gymnastics follows a sex abuse scandal in the same sport in the United States, and Bach says although the IOC has worked hard to improve safeguarding in Olympic sports, more will need to be done.

"We have given advice and we have also asked for clarification wherever clarification was needed, because these cases are clearly against everything we stand for," he said.

"We will not give up and we will do whatever we can with regard to prevention but then also to follow up on cases that would be or should come under our jurisdiction.

"We take all these cases very, very seriously from the very beginning. You may remember that already a couple of years ago we issued a toolkit concerning abuse and harassment of athletes which is available for the entire Olympic Movement.

"That has been very well appreciated and applied in various parts of the world. Nevertheless, we have seen some recent cases in a number of countries which is even more concerning."

Beth Tweddle during the Glasgow 2018 Gymnastics European Championships
Image: Former British gymnast Beth Tweddle has urged anyone in the sport suffering from abuse to speak out

Beth Tweddle, who won bronze on the uneven bars for Team GB at London 2012, posted a message on her Instagram account on Wednesday saying that she had been dismayed to learn of others' experiences.

She wrote: "Gymnastics is my life, and it's been a difficult week or so for everyone in gymnastics reading and watching the stories in the news.

"You should never be afraid to talk and it hurts me to learn that gymnasts have not felt like they can do this. Sharing feelings, talking about experiences and being open is, I believe, the only way to create a positive and healthy environment.

"I welcome the independent review and I urge all gymnasts to talk, to contribute and share their experiences both positive and negative to ensure that our sport can be safe and enjoyable for everyone."

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