The following is a statement released by the FIG from Morinari Watanabe, FIG President, regarding the sexual abuse cases that has occurred within USA Gymnastics –
Firstly I would like to express my sincere appreciation to IOC President Thomas Bach for his powerful statement about the abuse scandal in US Gymnastics.
This statement encourages us to continue our work, ongoing already for many months, towards the necessary action.
I can assure you that the FIG, following President Bach’s lead, is committed to doing everything possible within our remit to develop an environment of dignity and safety for the entire Gymnastics community.
I want to show the gymnasts that their courage to speak out against unacceptable behaviour has been and will continue to be rewarded.
To this end, the FIG’s action will be built on three pillars.
The first pillar is to establish a safeguarding commission within the FIG to provide educational material for our national member federations. The IOC has assisted us in this respect with its excellent toolkit on safeguarding athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.
The second pillar is the involvement of our Athletes’ Commission whom we will look to learn the athletes’ opinions and expectations with regards to the FIG’s operations.
The third pillar is to establish an independent body to which any abuse case can be reported. This will include a helpdesk and the provision of legal support. We are aiming to announce this independent body once the FIG Authorities have approved the governance structure.
However, the most important thing for me is how our athletes feel.
For this reason, I will remain available to listen to the US gymnasts who have asked for change.
I would like not only to praise their courage but to listen to their ideas on measures that might be taken to foster a culture of mutual respect within the sport.
It is together with the athletes that the International Gymnastics Federation can succeed in the fight against abuse and harassment. It is also with the collaboration and the support of the Olympic movement.
As FIG President, the athletes’ welfare and safety will always be my priority and will guide my actions. I will never stop this fight.