(SYDNEY) An Australian swimmer who abandoned the Tokyo Olympics in protest of “misogynistic perverts” in the sport said Saturday that her stand for cultural change deserved more than any medal.
Madeline Groves told Sydney Morning Herald, In his first public statement since his coup.
“I’ve had a lot of support from some of the people on the team, athletes, coaches and managers, and I think the feedback I’ve already received has been really worth it,” she added.
The 26-year-old swimmer claims to have been inundated with messages of support.
The two-time Rio Olympic silver medalist stunned the swimming world by withdrawing from qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in June.
“You can no longer exploit, shame, or subject young women and girls to medicinal gases, and then expect them to represent you to earn your annual reward. It’s over,” she explained at the time.
The statements were not intended to be explicit, but the Australian Swimming Federation has set up a women’s commission to investigate the problems facing girls and women, while acknowledging that “unacceptable behavior” in the sport has been on the rise for several decades.
“It was disappointing to miss such an opportunity (Olympic qualifiers), but the potential rewards definitely outweigh the risks,” Groves told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“If this independent commission can achieve significant results that make the sport safer and more enjoyable for all stakeholders, not just girls and women, it is more valuable than an Olympic medal.”
Australian swimmers achieved the best Olympic Games of their history in Tokyo, with 20 medals, including nine golds.
Groves, the butterfly specialist, said he considered trying to qualify for the Games to make his turn on the world stage.
But she abandoned it due to confusion over Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, which outlines how athletes can emerge and potentially influence their teammates.
Groves has no plans to give up swimming and will be heading to Europe to compete in the International Swimming League as part of the DC Trident team.
She says she agreed to become an outcast in the eyes of some in the Australian team. “But that doesn’t really worry me,” she said. “I made this decision based on my own values, and I don’t expect everyone to understand or agree with me.”
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