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Swimming Australia is in hot water.
The organization’s president Kieren Perkins claims that there’s “no evidence” two-time silver medalist Madeline Groves ever filed a formal complaint about being made uncomfortable by a swimming official or coach.
This response comes in light of Groves’ announcement that she would not be competing in Australia’s Olympic trials to send a message toward “misogynistic perverts.”
“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 tweeted.
This is not the first time that Groves publicly condemned Swimming Australia for similar reasons. In a Nov. 30 tweet, Groves claimed that she “definitely” made a complaint years back about a Swimming Australia official “making [her] feel uncomfortable the way they stare at [her] in [her] (swimsuit),” and that they had received a promotion following a personal development stint.
Within 48 hours, she followed up with a response: “Woah guys this may have worked. Next time you have a weirdo stare at your t-ts and your complaints fall on deaf ears, try tweeting about it. I didn’t even say where they worked so good on that workplace for immediately knowing it’s their s–tness. Did they recognize my complaint because they already had it on file?”
Swimming Australia claims that Groves never formally filed a complaint with them and that it tried to reach out to her in December regarding her tweets but she “declined to provide further information.”
Groves on Thursday expanded upon her statement to include that her allegations stemmed from witnessing a pattern of inappropriate behavior.
“It would be mistake for anyone to reduce my decision to a singular incident. My decision is partly because there’s a pandemic on, but mostly it’s the culmination of years of witnessing and ‘benefiting’ from a culture that relies on people ignoring bad behavior to thrive. I need a break.
“If starting this conversation will save even just one young girl from something like being told to lose weight or diet, not going to the Olympics will have been worth it,” she wrote on her Instagram.
Perkins doubled down on the organization’s earlier claims that Groves never made a complaint:
“I have absolutely no evidence that there was any complaint made, or that anyone was promoted because I don’t know who she’s talking about, or what the complaint is,” Perkins said. “I actually have no evidence of that, and that’s really quite concerning.”
According to Perkins, the organization has been unable to contact Groves, preventing it from investigating the new allegations toward officials.
“The reality is, that’s all we know, what’s on social media, she’s at no time contacted Swimming Australia, we haven’t been able to talk to her directly and go through her concerns,” Perkins told Nine Network.
Following her bombshell announcement, Groves said she would be going dark on her Instagram and Twitter accounts and that she would not comment on the situation anymore.
However, despite pulling out of the Olympic trials, Groves does plan on competing this year.
“I’m so grateful to feel so supported in this decision,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “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!).”
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