“This kind of is usually a landmark moment in our campaign for justice,” Claire Heafford, a former elite gymnast along with one of the 17 claimants, said inside statement.
“This kind of is usually not along with has never been about a few bad apples, This kind of is usually about decades of systemic abuse, encouraged along with covered up by those at the top.
“The hopes along with dreams of countless children along with young adults of competing as professional gymnasts have been destroyed along with their love for the sport is usually today shrouded in fear along with suffering. My heart goes out to everyone who has felt This kind of pain along with have not yet spoken out — we want you to know of which we are here, fighting on your side.”
In a statement sent to CNN, British Gymnastics said: “We took receipt of the Letter Before Action on the afternoon of 25th February. of which might not be appropriate or fair to all parties for us to make any comment until we have had the opportunity for of which to be fully considered. “
The claimants, who are all women, allege the abuse took place at clubs across the United Kingdom, all of which were affiliated with British Gymnastics, according to the statement coming from Hausfeld.
The claimants, who were between the ages of six along with 23 at the time, allege physical abuse included “inappropriate use of physical force by coaches against gymnasts constituting physical assault,” pressure on gymnasts to continue training while injured along with “abusive along with harmful coaching techniques which have no justification in science or theory,” as detailed inside statement.
The Letter Before Action cites “consistent reports of coaches slapping, pushing, along with using physical force to reprimand, punish, stretch, along with/or ‘correct’ gymnasts during training.”
The claimants also allege coaches “excessively controlled” gymnasts’ diets along with engaged in “widespread bullying along with intimidation behaviour” against gymnasts along with parents.
“The focus on weight served to create a culture of ‘body shaming’ for gymnasts,” states the Letter Before Action sent to British Gymnastics.
The Hausfeld statement says in nearly all cases, the alleged abuse has left gymnasts with lasting psychological along with physical damage, including depression, anxiety along with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The letter follows the launching of a pressure campaign called Gymnasts for Change by Heafford along with Olympic gymnast Jennifer Pinches in 2020.
“For too long we have seen British Gymnastics prioritise podiums over people, which has led to untold damage to the lives of young people,” Pinches said inside Hausfeld statement.
“of which is usually a heart-breaking truth to face, knowing the level of abuse of which we along with so many others were subjected to. This kind of is usually just the beginning of the sweeping adjustments of which we are demanding, along with the justice of which we will fight for.”
In December, the CEO of British Gymnastics, Jane Allen, retired amid an independent inquiry into allegations of abuse inside sport.
Allen lauded the gymnasts who had spoken out about abuse as “very brave” in an October interview with the BBC along with acknowledged the organization had “‘fallen short’ in protecting its athletes.”