Whyte Review gives gymnastics ‘an unprecedented opportunity for reform’

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Gymnasts affected by the abuse scandal within the sport say they expect the publication of the Whyte Review on Thursday to grasp an “unprecedented opportunity” for fundamental change.

The review, jointly commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England in 2020 and chaired by Anne Whyte QC, is set to lay bare the extent of the mistreatment at both elite and amateur levels that has tarnished a golden era of success.

Gymnasts for Change, the campaigning group made up of athletes and former athletes, said it was imperative the review seized the chance to make sure such widespread incidents of abuse could never be repeated.

Rio Olympic Games 2016 – Day Four
Great Britain won an unprecedented seven Olympic medals in Rio (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A spokesperson told the PA news agency: “The Whyte Review presents an unprecedented opportunity to address historic wrongs in gymnastics and reform the sport we love for the better.

“We hope (the) report, and actions from the commissioning bodies, live up to that promise.”

The British Athlete Commission, which established a helpline in association with the NSPCC to encourage affected athletes to come forward, also said it hoped the review would address the concerns of more than 200 athletes and families it has supported through the process.

“On the eve of the publication of the Whyte Review, we share with them the hope that the review provides a comprehensive and considered response to the allegations made against British Gymnastics, and is reflective of the nature of the concerns that our team has heard over the last two years,” the BAC said on Wednesday.

“Above all, we hope to see significant recommendations made, which will not only hold British Gymnastics to account, but also that the wider sporting system can learn from, in order to continue a genuine and irreversible culture shift within British sport.”

The growing allegations led to the respective departures from the governing body of chief executive Jane Allen in October 2020, and women’s head coach Amanda Reddin – a key architect of Britain’s seven-medal haul at the 2016 Rio Olympics – in May.

Reddin, who left the organisation by “mutual agreement”, was facing an independent investigation into her training methods. She was cleared of some charges and continued to strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

In the interim report published in March last year, Whyte said the allegations painted a “worrying picture” of the elite level of the sport, indicating that over 90 clubs and 100 coaches had been identified in submissions, and that 39 referrals had been made to local authorities as a result.

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