Dutch coach Gerrit Beltman admits abuse

This article is in Dutch.

I used Google Translate.

Beltman (64), still active as a coach … :

“The behavior I showed is in no way justifiable. I insisted on winning, at the expense of everything …

I am deeply ashamed now. Never have I consciously intended to hit, to curse, to hurt or to belittle. But it did happen….

… thought it was the only way to cultivate a top sport mentality. I blame myself for failing.” …

Gym coach Gerrit Beltman breaks silent about his inhumane training methods: ‘I mistreated and humiliated young gymnasts to win medals. I am deeply ashamed’

Recall that former Dutch gymnasts Stasja Köhler and Simone Heitinga wrote a book detailing the abusive training methods they endured as elite gymnasts. The coaches accused were Gerrit Beltman and Frank Louter.

The Dutch Federation responded but did not apologize, perhaps on the advice of lawyers:

We continue to call on all athletes of all levels to report to the Center for Safe Sports and / or the Institute of Sports Justice (ISR) if they have experienced undesirable behavior, both now and in the past. …

The Dutch Federation has also launched an independent investigation focusing on top athletes from the age of 12 who were active from 2013.

Beltman coached in Belgium and Canada, as well as Netherlands.

Khorkina / Russia in denial

My best guess is that of all nations in the world the gymnasts who suffered most were from the Soviet Union / Russia.

Most of what Khorkina says should be studiously ignored.

Prominent figures in the sport like Nellie Kim, Liubou Charkashyna, Liudmila Tourishcheva, Andrei Rodionenko, and Ksenia Semenova claimed in separate interviews that gymnasts are coming forward because they want attention or money and this is likely to discourage victims of abuse from coming forward. …


recommendations after watching Athlete A

Enya Tierney reflects on Netflix’s Athlete A documentary.

Some recommendations for coaches:

  • Most coaches were once a gymnast, treat your athletes the way you would have liked to be treated when you were one of them.

  • Just because when you were a gymnast, your coaches were too strict or abusive towards you, it does not mean it’s the only way you can coach. Remember that you can break the chain!

  • Positive reinforcement is the most effective and civilised coaching method.

  • Listening to your gymnasts is part of your job, make them feel you are on their side!

  • If they complain about pains and physical restrictions don’t assume they are exaggerating. Listen to them, adapt your session plans to their needs, and be in touch with parents and doctors to find out what’s best for your athlete.

  • Make your feedback useful. We have advice on how to give good feedback on our Gym etiquette: three simple things to do at gymnastics training.

  • Your job is not only to make good athletes. It’s also about their personal and physical development, protecting their best interest, and giving them a safe and fear-free environment to practice. …


Simone’s first week at the Ranch

It was 2011, when Simone was 13.

Aimee Boorman: When Simone became a Level 10 [the highest level before elite], we started talking about her becoming an elite. But when we first submitted videos to get her into [USA Gymnastics] developmental camp, the national team staff declined our request. We were told, no, she’s not ready, even though she had all of these skills, because her uneven bars skills were too weak. So when we did get an invitation to camp, we were very excited and we tried to showcase what Simone was good at.

Nellie Biles: I thought attending this first camp was the turning point for Simone in her career, so I was very excited.

Boorman: Simone was praised by the [national team] coaches about what a great job she had done. Then Martha just railed at her, said she wasn’t working hard enough and that she wasn’t good enough. Simone was devastated …

Boorman: The next camp was only three weeks away, so I talked to Simone and her parents. I never made any decisions without involving her and her parents. I think if she had the same experience at that next developmental camp with Martha, it would have broken her. It may not have taken her love out of gymnastics, but it would’ve made her not want to go back to the Ranch. We decided to decline the next camp. When we did, we weren’t invited back [by Martha] for more than a year. …

How Simone Biles found her voice and changed gymnastics culture

NEW podcast on the Karolyis

A podcast series on the Karolyis dropped July 14th.

How to listen to and download the 30 for 30 podcast ‘Heavy Medals’ on the Karolyi gymnastics empire.

Read a preview of the audio series on ESPN.

It includes interviews with Aimee Boorman, Nellie Biles, Maggie Nichols, Scott Reid, Jordyn Wieber, Missy Marlowe, Jessica O’Beirne and many more.

How Simone Biles found her voice and changed gymnastics culture

Independent Review  of British Gymnastics

More British gymnasts have come forward with stories of past abuse including the Downie sisters and Rio 2016 medallist Amy Tinkler.

On Wednesday, Olympic medallist Beth Tweddle said “there is no place for bullying or abuse in the sport that I love”, and urged all gymnasts to share their feelings.

At a Board meeting on Tuesday night British Gymnastics made the decision to step aside to allow UK Sport and Sport England to co-commission the Independent Reviewitfirst establishedfollowing concerns raised by British gymnasts about mistreatment.

British Gymnasticsoriginallyannounced the commissioning of a QC led Independent Review last week. However, to remove any doubt of the Review’s integrity or independence,British Gymnasticshas asked that UK Sport and Sport England now co-commission it. …

British Gymnastics step aside to remove doubts about review