Swimmer Opts Out of Olympic Trials, Slams 'Perverts'

Australian swimmer says no more 'exploit[ing] young women and girls'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2021 12:34 AM CDT
Updated Jun 11, 2021 5:05 AM CDT
Swimmer Opts Out of Olympic Trials, Slams 'Misogynistic Perverts'
Australia's Madeline Groves competes in the final of the women's 200-meter butterfly during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

"Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers," said Australian swimmer Madeline "Maddie" Groves on Wednesday in her announcement that she would not be competing in her country's Olympic trials, which start Saturday. "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." Groves didn't go into specifics, but USA Today reports that last year, she spoke out about a "well known coach" who made an inappropriate comment to her and was later promoted. The Guardian reports she's also spoken out about being body shamed and feeling uncomfortable with the way someone she worked with looked at her in her swimwear.

In a follow-up Instagram post Thursday, Groves still didn't cite details or name names, but she said that no one should reduce her decision to "a single incident." Rather, she said, she's tired after years spent "witnessing and 'benefitting' from a culture that relies on people ignoring bad behavior to thrive." She said that if her decision saves "even just one young girl from ... being told to lose weight or diet, not going to the Olympics will have been worth it." Swimming Australia, the sport's governing body in the country, says that it did reach out to Groves last year after her post about the coach, but she declined to give any further details and had made no prior complaints. Groves, 26, won two silver medals in the Rio games. (More Tokyo Olympics stories.)

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