Olympic medallist made formal complaint to British Gymnastics over experiences

It was widely reported when 20-year-old Amy Tinkler retired in January 2020 that it was an ankle injury that forced her out of the sport at such a young age. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler has said it was her experiences as a club and elite gymnast that forced her to retire in January at just 20 and not a physical injury as was reported at the time.

Tinkler said in a statement on Tuesday that she had submitted a formal complaint to British Gymnastics in December 2019 over her experiences and said this is what caused her to retire.

She was the youngest member of Team Great Britain in Rio 2016 when she medalled aged just 16 and finished third in the floor exercise behind America's Simone Biles and Aly Raisman. She also won one world medal, three European medals and 10 British titles during her career.

"I'm heartbroken by the stories that have been told over the past week," Tinkler wrote in a statement on social media. "I'm so proud of my fellow gymnasts who have shared their stories, I know how hard it is, and your bravery has been a shining light and inspiration in dark and troubling times for the sport we love.

"I submitted a formal complaint to British Gymnastics in December 2019. It was an account of my experiences as a club and elite gymnast, and the experiences I shared were the reason for my retirement in January, not a physical injury as was suggested by some at the time.

"My complaint was submitted in accordance with the British Gymnastics complaints policy by a legal team from Irwin Mitchell LLP. After 8 months, I'm no closer to having any feedback or outcome.

"It took a lot of support and counselling to build up the courage to tell my story. I would like to thank Scott [Hann, Tinkler's coach] and the team at South Essex Gymnastics Club for everything they did for me, without their help I would never have had the strength to begin this journey. I hope someone now listens to us."

British Gymnastics announced on July 8 that it would conduct an independent review after several current and former gymnasts came forward with allegations of abuse and bullying.

British Gymnastics said in a statement to the BBC that they had received a complaint from Tinkler and said the investigation was at "an advanced stage."

Becky and Ellie Downie, Olympians and two of Britain's most decorated gymnasts, have also called out the "ingrained" and "completely normalised" culture of abusive behaviour in British gymnastics.