new book – Dutch Gymnastics abuse

Former Dutch gymnasts Stasja Köhler and Simone Heitinga, now in their 30s, wrote a book called de onvrije oefening detailing the abusive training methods they endured as elite gymnasts.

The coaches accused are Gerrit Beltman and Frank Louter.


“Heitinga and Köhler relive their negative experience and harsh training conditions, set by their coach Gerrit Beltman …

… involves the whole set of experiences in their journey to become a top gymnast. A mixture of anxiety and loneliness …

… Utilizing their anxieties, ambition and loyalties, he completely shields the two young girls systematically in a psychological trap they cannot escape, nor let anyone help them. …

At the end of the book, a number of statements from ex-top gymnasts (such as Suzanne Harmes, Renske Endel and Danila Koster) and parents also share their experiences.

… In an official statement in the TV-show “Brandpunt”, Beltman apologized for his behavior and his training methods in his early years as a young trainer.

read more on GymPOWER


Several editors and followers of GymPOWER read the book and drew the same conclusion: this book has to be read by the entire, global, gymnastics community. … It is an absolute eye-opener and it makes you aware on how you should be on your guard, whether you are a coach, parent, manager, supervisor, paramedic, judge, gymnast or athlete.

I am hopeful of seeing translation into other languages.

The Royal Dutch Gymnastics Federation have reportedly made steps to ensure a better and safe training environment for child athletes.

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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