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British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins

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British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins

Over 100 swimmers backed her as they couldn’t stand the constant criticisms.

A bronze medal winner quit swimming altogether at just the age of 24 due to the public weigh-ins that are comparable to public humiliation for her. It was Cassie Patten who finally spoke up regarding the issue that is faced by hundreds of others.

Cassie Patten, a bronze medal swimmer for the 10,000m open water swim in Beijing Olympics.

British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins
British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins

Phoebe Lenderyou who won a gold medal revealed she had eating disorders due to her toxic workplace: her coaches. And aside from her, over 100 other swimmers have joined an online support group that reveals the intensity of the toxicity they face.

Lenderyou herself has been battling bulimia for five years due to how her coaches would comment on her weight and point it out on her body.

British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins
British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins

Swim England’s chief executive Jane Nickerson has apologized to the athletes who experienced negative experiences and was “truly sorry” for what happened. They haven’t addressed each case specifically, such as how athletes are allowed to train with injuries and the claims of “relentless” bullying from coaches.

Patten spoke with BBC regarding her experience, “I’d make myself sick, not drink anything the night before, I’d be going to the toilet several times before my weigh-ins; anything to get the lowest possible number on the scales.”

She quit in 2011 after a shoulder injury. Speaking of the time, “I was broken, mentally a shell of who I was, and a miserable person. I hated swimming, I couldn’t put on a swimming costume for years.”

“I’ve spent years getting over it and working on my relationship with food.”

British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins
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Lenderyou also quoted mental challenges after quitting the sport and recalls how her coaches would point out where she’d gained weight. She shared, “I was so lonely and very, very sad – I couldn’t tell anyone what was happening and I just felt completely worthless. There was no way I could show any weakness so I just hid it.”

“You’d be consumed with guilt – you felt that if you’d eaten a treat it had stopped you from getting to where you wanted to be.”

She remembered being told she “failed” her test after the coach gave the team chocolate cake.

British Olympics Swimmer Said She Made Herself Sick Before Humiliating Public Weigh-Ins
Getty Images

This has raised concern over swimmers’ mental health, leading to the launch of the organization’s new safeguarding and welfare policy, Heart of Aquatics.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach to poor behavior but we have to be open and recognize that sadly not everyone has had the positive experience we would expect from participation in our sports. For that I am truly sorry,” said Chief Executive Ms. Nickerson.

“If we are to be successful in this cultural change journey then we need everyone in aquatics, in any role at any level, to commit to collectively doing everything we possibly can to deliver the positive, safe, welcoming environment and culture that we all want to see.”

“That change must start with us and everyone at Swim England is committed to playing our role in making this a success for the benefit of everyone.”

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