— Sports

Australian swimmers urged to detail sexism after Maddie Groves withdraws from Olympics

Swimming Australia calls on athletes to detail any sexism in the sport while launching a broader investigation into the Maddie Groves furor. The governing body will create an all-female panel to investigate Groves’ claims of “misogynistic perverts in the sport” and broader issues.

Groves is still refusing to return calls and emails from the SA hierarchy.

“It would be great if she could engage with us … but it’s really up to Maddie,” SA chief executive officer Alex Baumann told reporters on Saturday. Asked if SA had systemic problems regarding treating female swimmers, Mr. Baumann replied: “I don’t think we do. “But this is what we are setting up to try to find, so we’re setting up this panel to look at that exactly.”

Baumann said SA “absolutely” wanted other swimmers to come forward, adding there were currently no other complaints before the organization. The independent panel will be formed in the coming weeks while Mr. Baumann performs a structural review of the governing body separately. The organization’s ethics and integrity committee will also investigate the claims of Groves, a dual Olympic silver medallist who has alleged, among other issues, incidents of fat-shaming.

What we’re trying to be is as open and transparent as possible,” he said.

“If there are issues, let’s try and address them, and let’s try and find solutions collectively to them … let’s do it together rather than us and them. Swimmers could make an anonymous complaint, SA director and high-performance committee chair Tracy Stockwell said.

We do have a whistleblower avenue,” Ms. Stockwell told reporters.

“And we’re always looking at our processes and the level of independence, whether police need to be involved. “There’s a whole process that we believe has been operating well, but we can always do better.”

Ms. Stockwell said the all-female panel’s terms of reference had yet to be set.

“This has been prompted by Maddie Groves and the ongoing attention to it,” she said. “And it’s concerning, and when we have any accusations of misbehavior or inappropriate behavior, we take that very seriously. “Because we don’t have her coming forward, we need to look at our complaints processes to see if there is some reason why she’s not coming forward and get to the bottom of it.”

Mr. Baumann reiterated that SA had no record of any previous complaint from Groves.

Groves last November posted on Twitter: “I made a complaint a few years ago about a person that works at swimming making me feel uncomfortable the way they stare at me in my togs”. On Instagram on Wednesday, Groves announced her withdrawal from Australia’s Olympic selection trials, which started Saturday in Adelaide. She went further on Twitter on Thursday, posting: “Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers. “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.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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