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Double Olympic medalist withdraws from Olympic trials to call out 'misogynistic perverts in sport'

The 26-year-old announced her withdrawal from the Tokyo games on her social media.

Double Olympic medalist withdraws from Olympic trials to call out 'misogynistic perverts in sport'
Image Source: Getty Images/Albert Perez / Stringer

Australian swimmer and two-time Olympic silver medalist, Maddie Groves, has withdrawn from the Olympic swimming trials for the Tokyo games, days before it is set to begin. She stated the reason for this decision was to take a stand against "all misogynistic perverts in sport." The 26-year-old announced the withdrawal on her social media.

She took to Instagram and wrote: Hey hunnies, I’ve made the decision to not compete at Olympic Trials in Adelaide. She continued: I’m so grateful to feel so supported in this decision. 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!). She also extended her support to those who were participating and will go on to represent Australia in Tokyo.


Groves shared the same on her Twitter where she provided further explanation about why she had chosen to drop out. "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," she wrote. Although she did not mention anyone in particular, there has been speculation that it could have something to do with an incident from last year. 



According to Reuters, Groves had tweeted about a complaint she had made a few years ago about a man working at a swimming pool who made her feel uncomfortable. The tweet was made at the end of November 2020 and read: "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." In a follow-up tweet, she said that tweeting about the situation must have helped since the authorities had taken action almost immediately. 



"Woah guys this may have worked," Groves said in reference to her first tweet. "Next time you have a weirdo stare at your tits and your complaint falls on deaf ears, try tweeting about it." She added, "I didn’t even say where they worked so good on that workplace for immediately knowing it’s their sh******. Did they recognize my complaint because they already had it on file?" Groves also explained how her medical concerns were dismissed and according to The Washington Post said, “What’s worse, body shaming a person that’s extremely fit by telling them they’re fat, or telling a person you don’t care if they’ve had 2 surgeries in a year and are probs infertile, they don’t deserve more help — let’s get a poll going.” 


Following Groves' statement, Swimming Australia has urged her to provide more information about her allegations. “This is a very concerning thing for us,” Kieren Perkins, the president of Swimming Australia said, according to The Guardian. “These types of issues are, to be honest, the highest on my list as president that we need to be aware [of] and manage. We need to manage the safety of our athletes. That is paramount to us.” Perkins also mentioned that Swimming Australia had reached out to the athlete last year after her harassment concerns were brought to light.



“Unfortunately at this point, we haven’t been able to have a direct conversation with her to understand what her concerns are, who the people involved are, so we can investigate and deal with it," the statement read and added, "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."

As for Groves, she has been receiving warm messages of support after her announcement of withdrawal. She went on to clarify that in addition to the pandemic, her decision was to start the conversation about the culture of "ignoring bad behavior to thrive" and saving at least one other girl from the misogynistic practices in swimming. 




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