New Zealand gymnastics released a report documenting the findings of an independent review that was conducted in response to serious and worrying allegations of abuse in the sport.
Last year, the Herald outlined several allegations of athletes being mistreated on the country’s gymnastics programs, including eight-year-old girls who were disgraced, forced to exercise through injury, and were verbally abused by coaches.
The Herald investigation
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David Howman Review Team, Dr. Leslie Nicole and Rachel Vickery received over 200 requests in the extended review period.
Gymnastics NZ CEO Tony Combert says the report will be helpful in helping sport recover from the pain and suffering of the past and ensure positive change for the future.
He added that their work has only just begun.
Gymnastics NZ clearly has a lot to do to make sure our sport is safe, fun and rewarding for everyone.
“We would also like to thank everyone who has shared their stories and experiences. We understand that this can be a difficult and at times painful process for many, and we want to acknowledge the courage of those who have come forward,” said Compier.
Gymnastics NZ issued a public statement pledging to implement the report’s recommendations and strengthen its vital commitment to change at all levels and in all aspects of sport.
According to Compier, the first step is to form a steering committee of survivors, athletes, industry experts, and other members of the gymnastics community to oversee implementation of the report’s recommendations.
The committee is expected to be present at the end of March.
Sport NZ CEO Raylene Castle said the evaluation is a critical step in identifying pain and wound healing survivors with experience in sports.
“The bravery of the survivors who appeared alongside their stories provides a way forward for New Zealand sport and gymnastics. A steering committee made up of survivors, athletes, and other members of society will positively change the gymnastics culture.”
“Sport NZ has supported the process so far and will continue to support NZ Gymnastics in implementing these recommendations as a member of the steering committee,” said Castle.