Fat shamed, humiliated, groped: Swimming’s toxic abuse of women revealed

The dark secrets of Australian swimming’s sordid treatment of female athletes and coaches has been laid bare in the scathing independent review into the toxic culture of the sport.

The report, delivered in December 2021 just months after the swim team basked in the glow of their most successful Olympic Games in Tokyo, revealed women were subjected to physical and mental abuse, groping, disgusting sexual innuendo, body shaming and public humiliation.
Swimming Australia has steadfastly refused to release the full report, despite being urged by the panellists to come clean and share all their dirty secrets.
The investigators heard multiple reports of how skinfold tests and weigh-ins were used to body shame and publicly humiliate young female competitors, leading to eating disorders, self harm and athletes quitting the sport.
“I wasn’t naturally a thin girl and I starved myself because the coach told me my body would ‘look more palatable’ to selectors.”
Others were told:
“With an arse like that, you’ll never be a champion.”
“Your body looks like a sausage roll.”
“What am I going to do with your big f***ing hips.”
“You’re fat and that is why you are slow.”
“Lay off the dessert.”
The investigators did not hear one single positive report about any nutritionists. Every comment about nutritionists was considered negative, yet no action appears to have been taken.
Others complained how some domineering coaches would control every aspect of their female swimmer’s lives, from what they eat, to how they cut their hair, to the clothes they wear, even to what they post on their social media accounts.
“We were groomed to accept bullying as part of the culture.”
There were also numerous concerns submitted about coaches touching the bathers of swimmers, or constantly putting their arms around them, or standing directly behind them on the blocks when they were bent over ready to dive in the pool.
Although roughly half the competitors in the Australian team are female, Australia rarely, if ever selects female coaches for the national team.
“There is definitely a culture of male coaches protecting each other’s backs when it comes to unbecoming conduct, particularly when on Australian teams,” one female coach said.
“Male dominated environment on pool deck led to the rise of inappropriate behaviour from male squad mates, as inappropriate behaviour from male coaches was role-modelled to the male athletes. This led to female swimmers feeling as though they were vulnerable and felt unsafe to speak up about the behaviours.”
“With few female coaches around, the male coaches get very egotistical which starts the toxic boys club and has a hugely negative impact.

Source: Fat shamed, humiliated, groped: Swimming’s toxic abuse of women revealed

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