New pressure group calls for sports ombudsman and full judicial review into gymnastics abuse scandal

Jennifer Pinches is a former Olympian.

A pressure group, aiming to hold the sport of gymnastics to account in the wake of a shocking abuse scandal revealed by ITV News, has been launched.

‘Gymnasts for Change’ is being led by two former elite athletes, Claire Heafford and Olympian Jennifer Pinches, and consists of a network of gymnasts, coaches, parents and fans.

Among the groups’ demands is a full formal apology from British Gymnastics, the creation of a sports ombudsman and compensation for any wronged gymnast.

They are also calling for a Parliamentary or judicial review to scrutinise the sport.

While they welcome the QC led inquiry that is already underway, they do not believe it is enough to guarantee a culture of abuse is eradicated permanently. 

Pinches, who helped found the online movement #gymnastsalliance, said: "Now we need to make sure real change happens, beyond words on social media.

Great Britain's Jennifer Pinches. Credit: PA

"Getting results should never be at the expense of mental and physical health. This needs to be the beginning of the end for abusive practices in gymnastics."

Campaign Director Heafford agreed: "We set up Gymnasts for Change as a way to support gymnasts who have been brave enough to speak out and ensure that this time - collectively - our voices are heard.

"A seismic change within gymnastics is long overdue. Now is the time to take back our sport."

The groups’ full manifesto can be found here.