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Britain Implements New Restrictions on Weighing Gymnasts Following Abuse Scandal

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New British rules are being implemented in gymnastics in response to a report detailing abuse in the sport, particularly directed towards women and girls. The new rules will restrict the weighing of gymnasts, with children 11 and older only to be weighed with their permission, and children 10 and under not to be weighed at all. Weighing must be done by sports science or medical practitioners with scientifically valid rationale.

The report found instances of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by coaches, as well as excessive monitoring of gymnasts’ weight. Coaches often controlled what the athletes ate and publicly announced their weights.

The independent investigation also discovered that the well-being of gymnasts had not been at the center of British Gymnastics’ culture. They were often not given opportunities to hydrate regularly or visit the restroom when needed, and older children could miss class time only under “exceptional circumstances.”

The new rules also prohibit children under 12 to practice during school hours. These changes follow a trend of similar issues, as female athletes in various sports have spoken out about the same types of abuse and pressure to lose weight.

The announcement of the new rules by British Gymnastics was seen as a step in the right direction. The chief executive of British Gymnastics, Sarah Powell, believes that gymnastics will benefit from the new policies, ensuring the welfare of everyone involved. These changes come after a push to change the sport, which was sparked by the 2020 Netflix documentary “Athlete A,” and further prompted by former competing gymnasts speaking out about abuse.

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Photo credit www.nytimes.com

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