A war of words has broken out between Amy Tinkler and British Gymnastics after the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist accused the governing body of lying to her for five months.
In a post on social media, Tinkler said she discovered that British Gymnastics had secretly dismissed her complaint against the women’s national head coach, Amanda Reddin, in March but had declined to tell her until August despite her repeated requests for information over the spring and summer.
“This really stinks and my patience has run out,” Tinkler wrote. “I’ve tried to do the right thing but the people running British Gymnastics cannot be trusted. They have let us down. They lie. We deserve better than this.”
The 20-year-old also criticised the British Gymnastics chief executive, Jane Allen, for not bothering to reply to a recent plea on social media for more answers, and said the integrity officer, Richard Evans, and his team had “lied” to her “over the last five months” about whether her complaints had been resolved. Tinkler ended her post by warning that she would start to post screenshots of her correspondence with the national governing body. “Change at the top must happen before the right thing will be done,” she added.
However British Gymnastics maintains that Tinkler was not told the outcome of her complaint against Reddin because it was waiting for a separate investigation into her allegations about South Durham gymnastics club to be resolved – which is still ongoing – and had wanted to give her the results at the same time. It also shared a letter sent by Evans to Tinkler on 21 September, in which he explained that Allen had not responded to her post on social media because she was not on Twitter.
“Jane does not play any role in the direction or handling of complaints and does not therefore have access to the details to answer your questions,” added Evans. “This is quite deliberate to ensure that our complaints handling is as independent and objective as possible.”
Evans also apologised for the lack of communication since March, added: “I am sorry that we’ve left you feeling that we’re not communicating sufficiently … I hope this email gives you sufficient explanation of what we have done and are doing about your complaint and those of others.”
Reddin has temporarily stepped down after being placed under investigation by GB Gymnastics following several other allegations about her conduct. They include claims by the British gymnast Ruby Harrold, who accused Reddin of presiding over a “culture of fear” at Lilleshall, and described food portions that left her and her fellow gymnasts hungry.
Reddin has denied any wrongdoing. The claims made against her will also constitute part of a separate independent investigation, commissioned by UK Sport and Sport England and led by Anne Whyte QC, to look into complaints of mistreatment within the sport.
Other gymnasts have also spoken out about abuse in the British system, including the world championship medallists Becky and Ellie Downie who said “cruel” behaviour was “so ingrained in our daily lives that it became completely normalised” – although they did not mention any coaches directly.