CANBERRA (Dispatches) - An Australian swimmer who opted out of the Tokyo Olympics to protest “misogynistic perverts” in the sport Saturday said her stance for cultural change was worth more than any medal.
Madeline Groves, who won two silver medals at the Rio Olympics, stunned her teammates when she pulled out of the Australian trials in June.
She said at the time: “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.”
Late last year, she took to Twitter with allegations about sexual harassment, inappropriate comments and body shaming she had faced in the sport. “We didn’t really have a #metoo moment in swimming,” she wrote after tweeting about “a person that works at swimming making me feel uncomfortable the way they stare at me”.
Following Groves’ withdrawal from trials, Swimming Australia set up an independent panel to investigate issues relating to women and girls, while admitting “unacceptable behavior” dated back decades.
Local media reported another six former swimmers had come forward with complaints, at least one of which was sexual.
In her first comments since refusing to compete, Groves said she had been inundated with support.
Australia’s swimmers enjoyed one of their best-ever Olympics, claiming 20 medals, including a record nine golds.