What hid the luster of gold?

What hid the luster of gold?

The words of Secretary of State Paul Blogis for Sport, speaking a month ago at the parliamentary debate on abuse in gymnastics, sound like an echo. He could not have enjoyed the Dutch successes at the Tokyo Olympics without prejudice. What hides the luster of gold? He now knows that for one medal. Not all hockey women were as happy as they looked with medals around their necks.

It was announced last week that the Hockey League has appointed an outside supervisor who must ensure the team climate at Orange improves. KNHB was forced to do so because a number of foreigners reported verbal intimidation and bullying.

A new dimension to the discussion

The fact that the sport is now linked to abuse is an important fact and provides a new dimension in the debate about a safe sporting climate. This time it is a team sport with highly educated players. In gymnastics, the victims were athletes who had already spent entire workweeks in the gym as children. In the triathlon, in last month’s news, the secluded environment of the National Training Center played a role.

Where did this stop? NRC Handelsblad It was revealed on Saturday that athletics coach Rana Ryder had an affair with a pupil during his tenure as the Netherlands’ national coach, contrary to IAAF guidelines. It’s about the athlete just coming of age from abroad, who took the American with him as one of his international talents in 2014, when he started working at Papendal with Dafne Schippers, among others. As a result, some Dutch athletes did not feel comfortable in his presence.

Watchman It reported earlier this month that the US Center for Safe Sports has launched an investigation into 51-year-old Ryder after multiple complaints of sexual misconduct. Earlier, the same center suspended Alberto Salazar for life on charges of emotional and physical abuse of athletes. He is, among other things, the former coach of Sivan Hassan.

Complete sports culture under the microscope

How safe is the Dutch practice of the best sport? The Swimming Federation is also investigating the violations, with which the National Swimming Federation is joining a larger NOC-NSF project. This week, all members age 16 or older will receive a survey from an independent research agency. According to Guus Jutte, the athletic director at the Swimming Association, there is currently no reason to believe that infringing behavior often occurs. “Our view is that it still stands with accidents.”

The fact that there is no definitive cause, but that there will be an investigation, says something about the current zeitgeist. In 2021, the mental health of athletes is high on the agenda. It is not without reason that the government, through Blokhuis, asked the professor to study the entire higher sports culture of the Netherlands.

Perhaps this spirit of the age will also ensure that international hockey players now dare to speak out. In terms of performance, the Dutch national team is one of the most successful Dutch teams in recent years. Women rule the Olympic, world and European championships. In the general newspaper Participants talked about the culture of fear on Saturday. Much of the selection will see the atmosphere this way since national coach Alisson Annan took over in 2015. The anonymous story shows that the coach sometimes ignores players for months.

more sink

Interestingly, not everyone has a problem with the system. Some call it cruel but necessary to success. This also became clear earlier in the triathlon case. Tokyo fourth seed Rachel Clammer didn’t want to be linked with the violations. Her boyfriend, Richard Murray, a South African triathlete, tweeted about the news: #stop complaining: “The top of the sport is tough… deal with it.”

Of course, infringing behavior is not the same. The (potential) violations in hockey are different from those that occur in triathlon, gymnastics, or athletics. What has mainly been highlighted last week is that it is a good time to report violations. The big sports sink is opening more and more.

Read also:

Abuses in gymnastics, dance and triathlon: Why top athletes are at risk

In the big sport, the goal is to push the limits: you have to be faster, higher and more powerful. This is not without risk, according to the growing number of violations being reported. “The best athlete takes on more sacrifices with all the risks involved.”

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