Kieren Perkins, the president of Swimming Australia, has fired back at claims made by two-time silver medalist Maddie Groves that she withdrew from Saturday’s Olympic trials over “misogynistic perverts,” arguing that they have been unable to reach her regarding the issue and that they have no record of her previous complaint made on social media back in November.
Perkins, a two-time Olympic 1,500-meter gold medalist, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Friday that Swimming Australia has not been able to have “a direct conversation” with Groves about a social media post she made on Thursday alleging misconduct in the sport.
“We have had an ongoing dialogue that has been generated by Maddie through social media. We reached out with her in December 2020 to try to engage with her on these concerns she has,” Perkins said, via The Associated Press.
“We have done it again now, and unfortunately at this point we have not been able to have a direct conversation with Maddie to understand exactly what her concerns are, who the people involved are, so that we can investigate it and deal with it.”
Groves, 26, first made the announcement in an Instagram post but didn’t offer a reason for her abrupt decision to withdraw.
She later tweeted that post saying: “Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers – 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. Time’s UP.”
Perkins also addressed a Nov. 30 tweet in which Groves claimed she filed a complaint years ago about a man in her sport who made her feel uncomfortable by the way he stared at her in her swimsuit. She added that she believed he had received a promotion since.
“I have absolutely no evidence that there was any complaint made, or that anyone was promoted because I don’t know who she’s talking about, or what the complaint is,” Perkins said, according to the New York Post. “I actually have no evidence of that, and that’s really quite concerning.”
Groves followed up her claim with another post on Instagram clarifying that her decision was not based on one isolated incident.
“It would be mistake for anyone to reduce my decision to a singular incident,” she wrote. “My decision is partly because there’s a pandemic on, but mostly it’s the culmination of years of witnessing and ‘benefiting’ from a culture that relies on people ignoring bad behavior to thrive. I need a break.”
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