Over the last 20 years there have been over 360 allegations against gymnastic coaches. On October 24th CBC published an article about a woman who testified against her ex-gymnastics coach that she accused of kissing her on the lips at the age of 12. She went on to say that he would routinely kiss her hello and goodbye and sometimes grab her butt. She also testified that during routine massages he would massage under her underwear, and occasionally spoon her in bed. The coach was a highly respected and known nationally. Dave Brubaker was charged with 10 sexual offences in December of 2017. This resulted in Brubaker being place on administrative leave by gymnastics Canada. Prior to his leave he was the director of the women national team for the 2016 Rio Olympics. At the beginning of his trial his charges were reduce from 10 to 2.
At the end of the article, the reporter touches on 2 other cases where similar allegations were made against coaches. I did some research and if you google alleged sexual assault cases in Canada out of the first 20 items, 17 are specific to gymnastics. A lot of allegations go unreported. The main reasons for this are fear, respect and because many of the victims don’t realize what is actually happening. This is a common in gymnastics: Sterling and Kerr examine the relationship between coach and athlete specifically in gymnastics.
I ask: Why don’t we hear anything about these incidents? Why is relational abuse so common in gymnastics? And how are these gymnastic committees going to fix this normalization and make it safer and easier to report?