On this episode of The End of Sport, Johanna and Nathan sit down with Kim Shore for the first part of a two-part episode to talk about different forms of abuse that persist in Canadian gymnastics as well as how we as fans, parents, and onlookers can prepare for it and prevent it.
Kim Shore is a certified Corporate Leadership Coach, Workshop Facilitator, former member of the Gymnastics Canada Board of Directors, chair of the first ever GymCan Safe Sport Committee and was a gymnast for her entire childhood and competed at national and international competitions. She ultimately achieved a full ride scholarship to a Division I NCAA school, CIAU individual and team national championships, and a 7th place finish at the Sport Aerobic World Championships.
This is a really special episode that will continue past conversations we’ve had with Ciara McCormack and many others. We hope that this interview will help equip parents with approaches, questions, and demands they should make of their coaches and teams, and national governing bodies of sport, governments. Parents want to know what they should do, should they even enroll their parents in more intense sport environments to begin with? How do they need to prepare themselves and their children to recognize warning signs? These are all such difficult questions. But we hope to continue talking through some answers that we got from Ciara about a year ago, and dive even further here.
We want to make it very clear that we are rejecting the premise that athlete abuse is an acceptable part of modern sport. It absolutely is not. It needs to be rooted out. Infuriatingly, many sportspeople seem to have accepted the existence of sporting abuse. We say they seem to have accepted it due to their reporting and response to abuse as a ‘bad apple’ phenomenon the way they view racism. This is evidenced by the horrific pervasiveness of sporting abuse, with cases in every single sport from the youth level to the pros and Olympic Games, which is abetted and promoted by sport orgs, universities, etc. who refuse to properly investigate, create pathways to reporting abuse, etc. And as we’ve seen with the NCAA and other orgs: some even reject any responsibility for protecting child athletes. This all means that parents of children of all genders are practically sending their kids to sports with a high possibility that they could be abused. Parents basically have to cross their fingers and toes that coaches, other athletes, etc. won’t abuse their children. This is institutional and governmental failure at numerous levels. Hopefully this episode will help provide a guideline of sports to help parents and athletes navigate the dangerous nature of modern sport.
Children should be able to compete in sports without worrying that they’ll be abused and harassed; parents should feel completely comfortable signing their children up without having to be hypervigilant about predators. But as we’ve talked about, the people who created modern sport decided to control athletes’ bodies first and foremost under the guise of acceptable and even laudable behavior.
And since sport orgs have decided that their actual purpose is not to protect athletes - but to protect the image and liability of the organization and powerful people who control it – then athletes’ bodies are mere pawns in the sport orgs’ game for control.
The following discussion is absolutely not a sign that we are accepting of the status quo, nor that parents and children should accept the status quo. This is about fighting back.
For a transcription of this episode, please click here. (Updated semi-regularly Credit @punkademic)
Research Assistance for The End of Sport provided by Abigail Bomba.
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