British Olympian Amy Tinkler accuses senior coach of using phrase ‘fat dwarf’ in email exchange about her weight

In her latest social media posts in an ongoing and very public dispute with British Gymnastics, Olympian Amy Tinkler has described how, as a 17-year-old, she was reduced to tears by a series of emails in which her national coach discussed her weight.

In one email to the national squad’s nutritionist, coach Colin Still questions the readings of the Rio bronze medallist’s height and weight saying “she already looks a little heavy.”

In a further email when he’s told he has misread the data, Still replies “..I will get back to my skiing knowing that Amy is not turning into a fat dwarf.”

Tinkler says she found the first email hurtful but the second more upsetting. "Colin called me a ‘fat dwarf’. I just sat there crying. I asked Mam if I looked fat. So many thoughts went through my mind.

"He’s the National Coach but why would he say that? What have I done to him to be that mean to me?"

In a statement Tinkler describes the impact the email exchanges had on her: "I went to bed but didn’t sleep, I couldn’t, it just kept going around and around in my head. Overthinking it all.

The original email from Colin Still. Credit: ITV News
A follow-up email from Colin Still. Credit: ITV News

"Worried that I was too heavy, how was I going to lose all this weight. I kept repeating it. He thinks I’m a ‘fat dwarf’, why does he think that? If that’s what he says about me in an email then what else do they say about me?"

After her personal coach told British Gymnastics about the emails and the upset they’d caused, Tinkler says she did receive a text from Still: “No phone call, just a text. He didn’t apologise for calling me 'heavy’ or a ‘fat dwarf’.”

In a statement British Gymnastics confirmed it had launched an immediate investigation: “This is extremely worrying. A coach should not be speaking in this way about a gymnast. We have contacted Amy Tinkler to ask for the original emails from 2017 and other relevant information to aid that investigation.

"We have checked all available records and cannot find reference that we have previously had a complaint about these comments.”

Colin Still has been approached for comment.