Katherine Starr, a two-time Olympian for Britain and founder of Safe4Athletes, an organization that advocates for athletes abused by a coach or a teammate, said the sport should not solely rely on U.S.A. Gymnastics to make improvements. She said athletes need to be trained to speak clearly and freely about the abuse they are experiencing, and coaches who abuse athletes need to address underlying issues as to why they lash out at their athletes in the first place. Parents, Starr said, also need to learn that they cannot ignore abuse just because they hope to raise a champion.
Over all, she said, those in the sport have many steps yet to take, and U.S.A. Gymnastics is responsible for taking the lead.
“Right now, that’s not happening,” Starr said. “They don’t understand how to change the system and don’t even have their ship pointed in the right direction.”
Photo Credit: Rachel Wisniewski for The New York Times