Olympic bronze medallist Nile Wilson says information of British Gymnastics chief govt Jane Allen’s plan to retire is a “great day for the sport”.
Allen has stated she’s going to retire in December however the transfer comes at a time when her organisation is investigating claims athletes have been mistreated.
In an unique interview with BBC Sport on Tuesday, Allen stated she had made the choice to go away.
“I think it’s a very, very good for the sport of gymnastics,” stated Wilson, 24.
“The cultural changes needed, it starts at the top and this is a huge, huge step.”
Hannah Whelan, who competed on the 2008 and 2012 Olympics for Great Britain, stated athletes had been scared to speak about points at British Gymnastics due to a “culture of fear”.
In reacting to Allen’s retirement announcement Whelan stated: “She actually doesn’t understand the full extent of this and the actual hurt that has been caused for the athletes.
“She has failed to deal with the problems and issues within the sport and is form of simply strolling away. It appears virtually too straightforward for her.”
Since July, BBC Sport has revealed a series of stories of former and current gymnasts alleging mistreatment at all levels of the sport – including Olympic medal-winning gymnasts Amy Tinkler and Wilson, plus Olympians Becky and Ellie Downie.
In August, Wilson advised BBC Sport he felt there was a “tradition of abuse” in British gymnastics, saying athletes are “handled like items of meat”.
An independent review, led by Anne Whyte QC and co-commissioned by Sport England and UK Sport, is ongoing, with its call for evidence closing last Friday.
“I believe it is coincidental that her retirement has come simply earlier than the Whyte Review – the unbiased investigation into the organisation – is about to return to fruition,” added Wilson.
“Jane stated in her interview she had labored very exhausting for the organisation. She used the phrase ‘organisation’. Now that’s there and does not occur with out us athletes on the entrance line. We have labored exhausting as properly and I do know we have not been valued as we should always.
“The barriers that were stopping us from speaking out when we had problems start in the leadership.
“So it is an excellent day for the game. There continues to be a number of work to do. I really like the game and for the following era coming by we are able to make it one of the best it may be.”
Wilson, who won bronze in the horizontal bar at Rio 2016, used Instagram to thank BBC Sport editor Dan Roan for his pursuit of the story.
Hours earlier Allen had sat down with BBC Sport and admitted it was “fairly upsetting” for her to leave with the sport in turmoil.
British Gymnastics explained Allen was due to retire after the 2020 Olympics but when they were postponed for a year, her stay was extended to help deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the abuse claims.
Asked if she should have waited for the outcome of the Whyte Review to be published before retiring, Allen – who was appointed in 2010 – said: “I’ve thought of that. But as this has been my plan to retire in December, I believe that it is acceptable that I preserve that plan.”
Under Allen’s leadership, Great Britain’s gymnasts won 11 Olympic medals but she admitted the organisation had “fallen brief” in protecting its athletes, adding “there are issues that as CEO, I take full accountability for”.