Nice Britain’s Ellie Downie has stated she selected to retire from gymnastics as a result of her psychological well being “was taking a beating”.
Downie, 23, introduced her retirement with a press release on social media on Monday.
Downie gained 12 medals throughout her senior profession, together with a historic all-round European Championship gold in 2017.
“It wasn’t the game itself, I nonetheless very a lot love gymnastics,” Downie instructed BBC Sport’s Laura Scott.
“I wish to keep inside realms of it, however it was how folks had been treating me.”
In 2020, Downie and her sister Becky spoke out about abusive behaviour in British Gymnastics, saying it was “ingrained” and “utterly normalised”.
Final 12 months, the Whyte Assessment discovered systemic abuse within the sport in Britain, however Downie says talking out hindered her additional choice.
“On the time I used to be fairly assured to [speak out],” she stated. “Finally it did actually hinder us so much, we each did not make the Tokyo Video games. However I actually needed to make a optimistic change.
“Once I received to the final trial [before Tokyo], I made a decision to tug out. However the entire state of affairs round it, no-one got here as much as me, I sat on the bench crying, the coaches ignored me.
“I went residence with out anybody chatting with me earlier than I left, – that was completely heart-breaking.”
Downie, an Olympian at Rio in 2016, stated she had been contemplating retirement since October, shortly earlier than the World Championships.
“I received requested to be a reserve earlier than trials, however then to not get picked it put me in a really low state.
“Finally I knew I could not keep it up, as a result of I did not assume I’d ever get picked once more.”
Downie misplaced her brother Josh in 2021 after he suffered a coronary heart assault throughout cricket coaching, and whereas she says she “misplaced course” following his loss of life, she felt it was used as a “narrative” to justify her non-selection for the Tokyo Video games.
“I used to be coming in as a reigning world medallist, with the potential to do effectively in Tokyo if they’d assist me alongside the best way,” she stated.
“I did not communicate on it on the time, it was too painful to speak about. It is solely been till now that I’ve felt like I can and robust sufficient to take action.”
Chief government of British Gymnastics Sarah Powell stated Downie was a “trailblazer in how she has mirrored on her experiences to problem and push the game of gymnastics ahead.”
“Her bravery and honesty, privately and publicly, helps form the way forward for our sport,” she stated.
Powell added that Downie “produced historical past making performances on the world stage” and “helped lead a ground-breaking group of British ladies’s inventive gymnasts and in doing so impressed generations of youthful gymnasts to succeed in their objectives.”
In saying her retirement, Downie additionally shared an interview together with her on Dr Alex George’s podcast Stompcast., the place she spoke in depth about her causes to retire and experiences she had in her profession.
In that interview Downie additionally stated:
- All through her profession her weight was ridiculed with coaches blaming accidents on how “heavy” she was. “If I’m unhappy I wish to eat and I really feel that’s as a result of I used to be instructed I could not,” she stated. “Some folks go to drink or medicine when they’re extremely emotional and I flip to meals. It has given me a tricky relationship with meals at occasions.”
- Downie claimed she skilled an absence of assist and communication from the governing physique after she didn’t qualify for the Olympics and the loss of life of her brother.
- Felt “nugatory” after solely being chosen as a reserve for the 2022 World Championships, regardless of assembly the standards that was set out for her and it left her “mentally battered”.
- Claims an e mail despatched to those that competed on the World Championships by nationwide coach David Kenwright stated: “We lastly put the naysayers to relaxation”. She that added a efficiency director known as the language within the e mail “not acceptable”.
- Mentioned the “fallacious individual” is accountable for the nationwide programme in the meanwhile.
Talking later to the BBC, Downie additionally added that she felt she had “nothing to lose now” in talking out concerning the points.
She stated that “finally’ she did not really feel like “they needed me again that a lot”.
In response to the claims within the podcast, British Gymnastics stated in a press release: “She’s raised points that we’re already conscious of and are being addressed, significantly across the conduct and communication of a member of our teaching staff.
“As a part of the broad reform of gymnastics being undertaken, we should guarantee acceptable behaviours and attitudes are maintained and at all times bolstered.”
In response to the e-mail declare, the governing physique stated it “didn’t meet our requirements or replicate our values as an organisation” and a disciplinary course of was ongoing.
“Our Efficiency Director instantly despatched correspondence to recipients outlining that a few of the language and tone was unacceptable and never in step with our tradition and dedication to reform,” British Gymnastics added: “A subsequent self-discipline and schooling course of passed off and that is being monitored as an ongoing course of.”
British Gymnastics put collectively an motion plan known as Reform ’25 to ship on the findings of the Whyte Assessment.
“Our Reform ’25 motion plan makes it abundantly clear that abuse, mistreatment, and a tradition of worry haven’t any place in gymnastics, and that nothing is extra vital than the security and wellbeing of gymnasts and everybody concerned within the sport,” the assertion continued.
“The reforms now we have already put in place in bringing in two new Efficiency Administrators in Tracy Whittaker-Smith and David Hart, along with Scott Hann as Technical Advisor, had been made to make sure these sorts of points had been addressed.
“We nonetheless must go additional and sooner over the subsequent two years of delivering our plans, however the fast response and subsequent motion to take care of this e mail is an indication that progress is being made.”
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