Sport’s cascading tales of abuse and fear demand action from the very top | Sean Ingle

Victims have spoken out and some culprits have even admitted regret. Now it’s time for the governing bodies to show they care

In safer and saner times, the world’s eyes would now be fixed on the Tokyo Olympics: the gleaming smiles, the shiny medals, the illusion of perfection. But the postponement of the Games has at least allowed space for something more vital: exposing the human cost of chasing glory, especially for young girls in aesthetic sports such as gymnastics and figure skating.

In the past week alone athletes in Japan, China, Britain, Australia and the Netherlands have come forward with disturbing stories. Time and again they refer to the unequal power balance between them and their coaches and federations – and the impossibility of speaking out for fear of missing out on a world championships or Olympics. Poignantly, they have also mentioned how watching the Netflix documentary Athlete A had given them the reassurance that they are not alone, and to add their voices to the collective clamour.

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