British Bobsleigh team told: keep quiet about bullying or miss Olympics

• Athletes warned not to complain about authoritarian atmosphere
• Team members liken ‘toxic’ culture to that in British Cycling

British Bobsleigh warned athletes they could lose their chance of competing at the Olympics if they dared to speak out publicly about issues such as bullying, sexism and racism, the Observer can reveal. An email seen by this newspaper also shows that athletes and staff were threatened with legal action weeks before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi if they talked publicly about an affair between a male coach, who was on British Bobsleigh’s three-person selection panel, and a female athlete.

Related: GB bobsleigh coach accused of racism as welfare crisis in Olympic sport grows

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