Anyone responsible for “shocking and upsetting” abuse of British gymnasts should be held to account, the government agency overseeing sports said on Tuesday.
Catherine Lyons, a 19-year-old former gymnast, told ITV News she was assaulted and bullied by a coach as a young girl. Lisa Mason, a gold medallist at the 1998 Commonwealth Games who competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, also reported abuse from a coach as a youngster.
“These allegations relating to the treatment of young athletes within gymnastics are shocking and upsetting,” the UK Sport agency said in a statement. “There is absolutely no place for any sort of bullying or abuse in sport and anyone responsible for such behaviour must be held accountable, with support offered to those affected.”
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UK Sport, which oversees funding for British Olympic and Paralympic athletes, said it would determine an “appropriate response” after establishing the facts with British Gymnastics.
“It is essential that all athletes feel comfortable to come forward and share concerns they may have in a safe and confidential environment,” UK Sport said.
The British Athletes Commission said it was “deeply troubled” by the abuses.
“No athlete should be expected to tolerate an abuse of power or poor practice,” the commission said. “The performance environment should be a place of mutual trust and respect where athletes are supported in achieving their best. The BAC is worried to hear of athlete experiences which appear not to reflect these standards and would urge that any allegations are investigated thoroughly.”
The allegations came as former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar is serving decades in prison for sexual assault and possession of child pornography in Michigan.
Hundreds of athletes have come forward over the last three years saying Nassar abused them under the guise of treatment, including reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles and six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman.