Australian Olympic swimming star, Maddie Groves, has chosen to pull out of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics swim trials, thanks to the “misogynistic” culture in the sporting industry.
Back in 2016, Groves won two silver medals at the Rio Olympics and was on her way to take part in the Adelaide swimming trials this week when she chose to remove herself from the running, calling out the persistent sexism she’s endured.
Taking to Twitter, Groves made the announcement to her fans, explaining that “misogynistic perverts” in the sport aim to “exploit young women and girls” through body shaming and gaslighting.
“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,” Groves wrote.
Back in late 2020, Groves came forward with a complaint about a certain swimming figure who had constantly made her feel uncomfortable—particularly while in her swimsuit.
According to Groves, said person would allegedly stare at her while she was in her swimming costume, aiming their gaze at her chest. But of course, rather than having her complaint listened to, said person was apparently awarded a promotion.
As is the case with cases like these, the accusations weren’t directed at just one person. In fact, Groves admitted that other people in the industry were also responsible for making inappropriate remarks toward her.
Open about her battle with endometriosis and adenomyosis, Groves also stated that she often dealt with doctors and others in the sport, refusing to take her diagnosis seriously. The two conditions significantly affect the female reproductive organs, and are often widely disregarded as “bad period pain”, when in truth, they are much more than that.
“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,” Groves said, back in a Tweet from December 2020.
According to a statement obtained by The Australian, Swimming Australia has claimed that they reached out to Groves last year, but never received her complaint on file.
“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, Maddie declined to provide further information nor do we have any previous complaints on record from Maddie,” the statement read.
As for the rest of the country’s swimming trials for 2021, Groves plans to compete. But her choice to remove herself from the Olympics has already showed the country that women in sport have had enough of enduring sexist behaviour. In the words of Groves: time’s up.