Australian swimmer Maddie Groves has withdrawn from the Olympic trials with an angry blast at “misogynistic perverts in the sport”.
The target of Groves’ comments in social media posts was not immediately clear.
Groves, a dual silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, won’t compete at the trials for the looming Tokyo Games, which start on Saturday in Adelaide.
Groves announced her withdrawal on Instagram on Wednesday night, then went further on Twitter on Thursday.
“Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers,” she wrote.
“You can no longer exploit young women and girls, body shame or medically gaslight them and then expect them to represent you so you can earn your annual bonus.
The 26-year-old, who has endometriosis and adenomyosis, reposted her tweet to Instagram, adding: “Putting this on the feed for emphasis. Make them pervs quake in fear from the number of people supporting a statement that threatens their existence.”
Groves won silver medals in the 200-metre butterfly and 4×100-metre medley relay at the Rio Games. She has also won four Commonwealth Games gold medals.
In her Instagram announcement on Wednesday, Groves indicated she was not quitting swimming.
“I’m so grateful to feel so supported in this decision” she wrote.
“I feel very relieved and I’m looking forward to racing at some other competitions later in the year (yeah sorry/not sorry, you haven’t got rid of me just yet!)
“I’m so excited to watch everyone at trials … whatever happens I genuinely think this will be one of the fastest Australian Swim Teams ever and I encourage everyone to get on the bandwagon early.”
Last November, Groves detailed on Twitter that she had complained about a “person that works at swimming making me feel uncomfortable the way they stare at me in my togs”.
Groves alleged the perpetrator had been promoted.
She followed up her tweet on December 1 saying; “Woah guys this may have worked. Next time you have a weirdo stare at your tits and your complaints fall on deaf ears, try tweeting about it.
“I didn’t even say where they worked so good on that workplace for immediately knowing it’s their shitness. Did they recognise my complaint because they already had it on file”.
Swimming Australia released a statement saying it tried to contact Groves late in 2020.
“Swimming Australia reached out to Maddie in December 2020 to enquire about a tweet sent by her that referenced potential abuse by someone connected with swimming,” it said.
“Maddie declined to provide further information nor do we have any previous complaints on record from Maddie.
“All allegations concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct are taken seriously by Swimming Australia.
“We consider the welfare, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as paramount, and we have a duty to make inquiries to uphold the standards of our sport.”