Australian swimmer Madeline Groves has made a bold decision not to participate in this year’s Australian Olympic trials, citing concerns about “misogynistic perverts” within the sport. Groves, a two-time Olympic medalist, conveyed her decision through an Instagram post and further elaborated on her reasons in a subsequent Tweet.
In her Instagram post, Groves expressed gratitude for the support she received for her decision and indicated her intention to compete in other events later in the year. However, it was in her Twitter statement where she firmly addressed the issue at hand, stating that her decision should serve as a lesson to those in the sports world who engage in exploitation, body-shaming, or medical gaslighting of young women and girls. She emphasized that such behavior would no longer be tolerated.
Groves had previously shared on social media that she received inappropriate comments from a “well-known coach.” Despite her complaints, this coach was later promoted, which likely contributed to her disillusionment with the sport’s handling of such issues.
Swimming Australia, the sport’s governing body, released a statement in December acknowledging that they had reached out to Groves regarding her social media post referencing potential abuse. However, they noted that Groves declined to provide further information, and they did not have any prior complaints on record from her. The organization emphasized its commitment to taking allegations of child abuse or sexual misconduct seriously, prioritizing the welfare, safety, and wellbeing of young athletes.
Madeline Groves is not only a two-time Olympic silver medalist but also a prominent figure in Australian swimming. Her decision not to participate in the Olympic trials, set to begin in Adelaide, is a significant statement against the culture of misogyny and mistreatment of women within the sport. It has ignited a conversation about the need for transparency, accountability, and a safer environment for athletes in all sports.