Summary clip of today's sports events, 1.6 (Sport1)
The authorities in Italy decided a few days ago to start legal proceedings against the coach of the local team in artistic gymnastics, after an investigation that lasted about two months and brought up alarming findings that include physical and mental abuse.
It all started about two and a half months ago, when two former members of the Italian team decided to break the cycle of silence ("even though we lost a lot of contacts because of it") and tell.
Anna Basta and Nina Corradini revealed what was happening behind the scenes and immediately after that an investigation was opened.
Stories of abuse in the artistic gymnastics industry are nothing new, but rarely are they exposed so widely.
In the spotlight is Emmanuelle Macarini, coach of the Italian national team since 1996 who was a gymnast herself and is considered the guru of the sport in the land of the boot.
Macarini led the medal-winning team, decorated with government honors, but now stands in the eye of the storm, with her assistant Olga Tishina by her side.
The smiles after achievements hid the abuse in training.
Coach McRaney is carried by several gymnasts (Photo: GettyImages, Jamie Squire)
At the end of October, as mentioned, two former Italian gymnasts decided to reveal the happenings in the team.
21-year-old Anna Basta, who won five medals in the World Championships and three more in the European Championships, told about the effect of the coach's attitude:
"I took laxatives on my own. For 11 months I had a drastic weight loss. My family did not understand the seriousness of the situation, between The rest is because of my efforts to show that everything is fine. Only after I retired from the national team did they understand. They saw how devastated I was."
"My big dream of artistic gymnastics turned into the worst nightmare of all. Every night I cried because I feared for my health, every day I had at least one anxiety attack. I wanted to exercise, I didn't want to suffer."
"There were long periods when I felt that my life was unnecessary. I considered suicide. There are too many girls who experience similar things. This sport is wonderful, but there are people who destroy it."
19-year-old Nina Corradini, who retired last year:
"We were weighed every day, one after the other, in underwear and a bra. The trainer would stand and write in a notebook. I always tried to be last in the weighing column, because I didn't want her to laugh at me in front of everyone.
"I was even afraid to drink water because it could have made the difference.
I developed a destructive relationship with the scale, I would sometimes go on it 15 times a day.
" "We usually just skip breakfast.
Instead, some of us would go to the pharmacy to buy laxatives.
It became a habit.
At some point I just got sick and lacked iron.
The coach didn't care and she forced me to train."
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"Every night I cried for fear of my health, every day I had at least one anxiety attack."
Anna Basta in 2017 (Photo: GettyImages, Pier Marco Tacca)
From the testimonies of the two before the media, a gruesome picture continued to emerge.
Macarini would shout at the unfortunate athletes, all in their teens: "Look at your stomach!", "Shame on you!", "How can you look at yourself in the mirror?!".
Or mocking them: "What happened to you, are you pregnant?".
Systematically, humiliatingly, daily.
The investigation began on October 30 and ended on December 29.
During it, female athletes and other witnesses testified anonymously.
Makraini and the assistant Tishina will be prosecuted and they are accused of "using training methods that are inconsistent with professionalism, and causing some of the athletes to suffer from psychological disorders and eating disorders."
The chance that Macarini will return to coach the Italian national team and the top gymnasts in the land of the boot, seems slim and the question is whether, in addition to a sports ban, she will also suffer a prison sentence or financial compensation.
This is probably how the career of a coach will end, under whom although Italian gymnasts won more than 200 medals (according to the local media), but many also experienced terrible suffering.