Australian swimmer Maddie Groves revealed that she will not be competing in the upcoming Australia swimming trials for the Tokyo Olympics, citing “misogynistic perverts” in the sport and body-shaming.
Groves announced her decision in an Instagram post, and later tweeted about it. “Hey hunnies, I’ve made the decision to not compete at Olympic Trials in Adelaide. I’m so grateful to feel so supported in this decision,” she said, adding, “I feel very relieved and I’m looking forward to racing at some other competitions later in the year (yeah sorry/not sorry, you haven’t got rid of me just yet!)”
Groves continued, “I’m so excited to watch everyone at trials (streaming on Amazon y’all) and to see who will be representing Australia in Tokyo – whatever happens I genuinely think this will be one of the fastest Australian Swim Teams ever and I encourage everyone to get on the bandwagon early.”
She concluded, “Best of luck to everyone competing at Olympic Trials but most of all to my beautiful team from [Moreton Bay Swimming]. [Peace Sign]”
In a tweet, Groves went a step further and alluded to the potential reasoning behind her decision to exit the upcoming trials.
She wrote, “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. Time’s UP[.]”
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. Time’s UP https://t.co/XMQCRPjNzK
— Maddie Groves (@MaddieGroves_) June 9, 2021
The decision and announcement may have come as a surprise to some, but Groves has tweeted about issues involving alleged sexual harassment in the past. In November of last year, she wrote, “Can I just say, that I definitely 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, and I think they’ve possibly been given a promotion since.”
Can I just say, that I definitely 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, and I think they’ve possibly been given a promotion since
— Maddie Groves (@MaddieGroves_) November 30, 2020
Groves put out additional tweets last year, discussing times she felt uncomfortable because of inappropriate comments and actions.
She wrote, “Just remembering the time a well known coach (not mine) asked me about uni and I told him one of my subjects was ‘Love, Relationships and Sex’ and he said in this creepy af voice ‘oh, you’d know allllllll about that…’”
Groves added that the person came up to her later and apologized, which she attributed to “possibly … the team psych [telling] him to.”
He came up to me like 15 minutes later and apologised, I think possibly cause the team psych told him to. Like dude I’m 20 please leave me alone and don’t make creepy comments to me when I’m just trying to be on the Australian Swim Team
— Maddie Groves (@MaddieGroves_) December 1, 2020
According to Reuters, “Governing body Swimming Australia said they had reached out to Groves following her comments in December.”
“Swimming Australia reached out to Maddie in December 2020 to enquire about a tweet sent by her that referenced potential abuse by someone connected with swimming,” SA said in a statement.
“Maddie declined to provide further information nor do we have any previous complaints on record from Maddie. All allegations concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct are taken seriously by Swimming Australia.
“We consider the welfare, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as paramount, and we have a duty to make inquiries to uphold the standards of our sport.”
According to USA Today, Groves won silver in the 200m butterfly and 4×100 medley at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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