ForeignSports

Tokyo 2020: Olympic swimmer withdraws from trials over ‘perverts’ in sport

An Australian swimmer has withdrawn from upcoming Olympic trials, citing “misogynistic perverts” in the sport.

Madeline Groves, 26, said in 2020 she had complained “a few years ago” about an unnamed person in the sport who had made her feel uncomfortable.

Announcing her decision to withdraw on Wednesday, she said: “Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts… and their boot lickers…”

Swimming Australia said it takes sexual misconduct allegations seriously.

It also said it had contacted Groves about her initial allegations, made last November and December, but that she had declined to provide further information and that it had no record of any previous complaints.

Groves won silver medals in 200 metres butterfly and 4×100 medley at the 2016 Rio Games.

In the social media post on Wednesday explaining her decision to withdraw, she added: “You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus. Time’s UP.”

She said she was not quitting the sport and is still planning on racing in competitions later in the year.

In November and December 2020, she detailed her previous complaint on Twitter, saying she had raised concerns about a man who stared at her in her swimsuit and made her feel uncomfortable.

In response to the allegations, Swimming Australia, the sport’s national governing body, said: “Swimming Australia reached out to Maddie in December 2020 to enquire about a tweet sent by her that referenced potential abuse by someone connected with swimming.

“Maddie declined to provide further information, nor do we have any previous complaints on record from Maddie.

“All allegations concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct are taken seriously by Swimming Australia. We consider the welfare, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as paramount, and we have a duty to make inquiries to uphold the standards of our sport.”

Australia’s Olympic swimming trials start in Adelaide on Saturday.

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