tokyo 2020 olympics

Swimming Australia urges Groves to provide details after 'perverts' complaint

13 Comments
By Ian Ransom

Swimming Australia (SA) has urged Madeline Groves to engage with them about her complaint of "misogynistic perverts" in the sport following her sensational withdrawal from the country's Olympic trials.

Twice Olympic silver medalist Groves rocked the sport on Thursday, saying her pull-out should be a lesson to "perverts ... and their boot lickers" who exploit, body-shame and "medically gaslight" young women and girls.

The complaint has overshadowed the Olympic trials starting Saturday and shone a fresh spotlight on the culture of elite Australian swimming.

SA President Kieran Perkins said Groves' grievance was "very concerning" for the governing body, which has faced complaints of sexual abuse and bullying in the past.

"These types of issues are, to be honest, the highest on my list as president that we need to be aware and manage," Perkins, a twice Olympic swimming champion, told state broadcaster ABC on Friday.

"Unfortunately at this point we haven't been able to have a direct conversation with her to understand what her concerns are, who the people involved are so we can investigate and deal with it.

"We encourage her to do that because this is one of the most significant issues and challenges that we have in all sports, to ensure that our athletes are supported and protected in their environment."

Groves has previously complained of inappropriate behavior by men involved in swimming.

She wrote on social media in December that she had made a complaint about a man who had ogled her in her bathing suit and made her feel uncomfortable.

She also said a male coach had made an inappropriate comment to her before apologizing.

Former backstroke world champion Mitch Larkin, who is close to Groves after training with her for several years, stressed her wellbeing was paramount.

"That sort of broke my heart a little bit," he told reporters in Adelaide ahead of the trials. "Hearing her tweet and messages I'm not exactly sure about her story but it was more about being a female.

"As a male I have not experienced some of those things she was talking about. If there is a culture issue then we'd obviously like to change it."

Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates said he had been assured SA were looking into the matter.

"I was very sorry to hear that. There's no place for what she alleges in Australian sport," he told reporters in Sydney.

Australia's world class swimming program has produced a slew of iconic Olympic champions including Ian Thorpe and Dawn Fraser, but it has also been battered by scandal in the past decade.

In 2015, an Australian government inquiry found SA had failed to screen a senior coach with historical allegations of child sexual abuse when appointing him to a position and also failed to conduct an internal investigation into historical allegations against another Olympic coach.

An independent review in 2013 into Australia's performance in the pool at the 2012 London Olympics found slack management had enabled a "culturally toxic" environment, allowing bullying, alcohol and prescription drug abuse among swimmers to go unchecked. A number of senior officials resigned after that review.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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"The man looked at me"...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

When you're on your uniform representing a company/country your behavior must be impeccable, or else.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

More and more it looks like the girl who cried wolf, what a shame.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Cries foul play on social media, yet when the Australian swimming authority wants to investigate and help, she goes in to hiding, even if there's the possibility her cooperation could bring this so called "pervert" to justice?

Yes, I can definitely smell shite

3 ( +7 / -4 )

doesn't have the focus to wins medals if she is constantly distracted about what other people think.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The commentary is beyond shameful and treads being overtly misogynist. Completely ignoring the history of abuse that continues and remains current in Australia and other countries. Apparently, IOC Coates, suffers from amnesia, as Australian athletics has been rife with abuse of female athletes, particularly in gymnastics and swimming, as reflected in statement by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC). The Australian Human Rights Commission has investigated and confirmed instances of abuse within gymnastics: Almost 200 past and present gymnasts provided testimony of their experiences of abuse in the sport, the report is 110 pages in length.

Australian swimming has a legacy of abuse: Scott Volkers. Terrence Buck. Stephen Roser.

For abuse within athletics, a premier example: Sandusky at Penn State.

For abuse in USA gymnastics and predatory coaches: Larry Nassar. John Geddert.

For abuse in USA swimming:  Mitchell Ivey. Andrew King. Everett Uchiyam.

And for those who ignorantly disclaim the incidence of abuse in Australian sport, take a gander:

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/olympics/gymnastics-australia-report-shocking-findings-of-sexual-physical-emotional-abuse-of-young-gymnasts/news-story/83026b2f2e191093363b8894bb4f78b5

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@ Richard Gallagher

The commentary is beyond shameful and treads being overtly misogynist.

You took the words right out of my mouth...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Richard

That may well be true, however we should never blindly believe any allegation without some evidence to back it up. Some people make things up, did this lady? I have no idea, if she is telling the truth and someone has harmed her I hope the perpetrator is punished.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

She is older now and less likely to win a medal this go. This might be a better way to get 5 minutes of name recognition by stating something like this.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Clearly more info is needed in order to assess this one out

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@ GW

That’s a sensible approach - seek more evidence before engaging in speculation.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

blvtzpk

Good advice finally. Look at the facts before believing anything, especially conspiracy theories

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Richard GallagherJune 11  08:07 pm JST

The commentary is beyond shameful and treads being overtly misogynist. Completely ignoring the history of abuse that continues and remains current in Australia and other countries. Apparently, IOC Coates, suffers from amnesia, as Australian athletics has been rife with abuse of female athletes, particularly in gymnastics and swimming, as reflected in statement by the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC). The Australian Human Rights Commission has investigated and confirmed instances of abuse within gymnastics: 

blvtzpkToday  12:42 am JST

@ GW

That’s a sensible approach - seek more evidence before engaging in speculation.

Maybe this will kick off a firestorm. Ogling is one thing but people like her often get touched improbably and body-shamed as well. Body shaming goes on beauty pageants as well, recall the trash talk Trump said to those Miss Universe contestants. And abuse is abuse, in any form.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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