More grumbling against Gymnastics Canada

Another discontent with Gymnastics Canada


The storm doesn't seem to be abating at Gymnastics Canada, already in turmoil due to alleged misconduct. Three Olympic athletes have called for the resignation of the CEO of the federation and the chairman of the board of directors in a letter sent to the C.A.

Olympic champions Kyle Shewfelt and Rosie MacLennan, as well as Ellie Black, who has participated in three Olympics, signed the missive on Friday, in which they explain that they no longer have confidence in MM. Ian Moss and Jeffery Thomson to straighten out the organization that oversees this discipline in the country.

“We no longer believe that Ian Moss [CEO] and Jeffery Thomson [Chairman of the Board] have the capabilities and the confidence of the community to allow Gymnastics Canada to get through the current crisis”, can we read in the letter obtained by Radio-Canada on Monday. 

The support of the Minister

“Ian and Jeff have failed to recognize the full extent of the challenge facing Gymnastics Canada and have taken no responsibility for the current state of the sport,” it read. 

The three signatories obtained the support of the Federal Minister of Sports, Pascale St-Onge, on Monday, who judges that their request “seems to be thoughtful, mature and legitimate”.

“A sports organization belongs first and above all to her athletes, she told the Journal. We have been hearing stories of abuse or questions surrounding governance in gymnastics for several months – which is why I withdrew funding from Gymnastics Canada last summer. » 

Coaches under the magnifying glass

For its part, the Gymnasts for Change Canada movement, which fights against abuse in this discipline, hopes that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “will answer the call for a judicial inquiry so that no athlete has to put themselves in a vulnerable position or survivors having to share their most painful experiences publicly,” the group wrote in a text exchange with The Journal.

Shewfelt, MacLennan and Black reproach in particular to MM. Moss and Thomson for hiring American Christian Gallardo as coach of the women's national artistic gymnastics team, without consulting athletes and ignoring allegations of misconduct against him in the United States .

This situation is reminiscent of that of coach Alex Bard, who had risen through the ranks within the federation despite a complaint and allegations of inappropriate behavior and abusive practices. 

In 2019, Mr. Moss had announced the departure of Mr. Bard for personal reasons, but on Monday before federal elected officials, he confirmed that he had terminated his contract.

Toxic climate

This case and the toxic climate denounced in another letter signed by hundreds of people in March were also at the heart of the work on women and girls in sport by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, Monday in Ottawa .

Bombarded with questions about athlete safety and the federation's transparency, Moss defended himself by saying “an allegation is not a fact and the federation should rely facts”, adding that “official complaints” are necessary in order “to be able to make decisions”.