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Australian Swimmer Pulls Out of Olympic Trials To Teach “Misogynistic Perverts” A Lesson

“Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers”.  

maddie groves

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An Australian Olympic medal-winning swimmer is being praised after announcing her withdrawal from the Tokyo Olympic trials, in a last-minute move aimed at “all [the] misogynistic perverts in sport”.

Maddie Groves, a 26-year-old professional butterfly swimmer, initially shared her decision not to compete in the upcoming games via Instagram on Wednesday night. The post didn’t specify why she was pulling out, only that she was “grateful to feel so supported in this decision.”

But on Thursday morning, Groves took to Twitter in a separate – and extremely powerful – post, to clear up the confusion about why she had chosen to withdraw.

“Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers,” Groves tweeted.

“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 reposted her tweet on Instagram, asking her followers to chuck her a “👊🏼 (or whatever) if you’re with me [to] make them pervs quake in fear from the number of people supporting a statement that threatens their existence.”

At the time of writing, more than 700 people have already commented their support.

She has since made another statement to her Instagram, saying the decision wasn’t made in isolation, but was rather from “years of witnessing and ‘benefiting’ from a culture that relies on people ignoring bad behaviour to thrive”.

 

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A post shared by Maddie Groves (@mad_groves)

Groves is a two-time Olympic silver medallist winner, which she won back in 2016 at the Rio Games. She was aiming to make it to the upcoming Tokyo games by progressing through the national trials, which start this weekend in Adelaide, until she unexpectedly pulled out.

While the target of Groves’ recent statement is not clearly specified, the swimmer has been pretty vocal on social media in the past about her experiences of alleged misconduct within Swimming Australia.

In December 2020, Groves shared via a tweet that a few years earlier she had complained about a particular male, who she said had stared at her in her swimsuit and made her uncomfortable – which she called her “#metoo” moment.

Groves also shared that the alleged perpetrator had possibly been given a promotion since her complaint.

In another tweet last year, Groves shared a different incident where she described getting a “creepy comment” from a coach, who later apologised “possibly cause the team psych told him to [sic].”

In a statement given to the ABC last year, Swimming Australia said it had tried to contact Groves at the time of her tweet, but that the swimmer had declined to talk to the organisation.

“Swimming Australia reached out to Maddie in December 2020 to inquire about a tweet sent by her that referenced potential abuse by someone connected with swimming,” wrote Swimming Australia. “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 well-being of children and young people as paramount, and we have a duty to make inquiries to uphold the standards of our sport.”

Groves’ tweet announcing her withdrawal from the Tokyo games has gone viral.

People have been sharing support for the 26-year-old, and also calling into question Swimming Australia’s knowledge of past allegations.

Earlier this year, A Human Rights Commission report into Gymnastics Australia found that the sporting body puts young athletes at “risk of abuse and harm”.

Despite pulling out of this year’s trials, Maddie Groves — who also suffers from and advocates for awareness of the chronic illnesses Endometriosis and Adenomyosis – plans to keep competing.

“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 wrote on Instagram.