Gymnastics Canada and provincial bodies face class action lawsuit over alleged abuse

More than a dozen former Canadian gymnasts have launched a class action claiming lasting physical and psychological damage suffered over many years.

Amelia Cline is the named plaintiff and there are 20 class members so far.

Proposed class of plaintiffs sues Gymnastics Canada and provincial governing bodies of British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan, alleging physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse while participating in programs and activities offered by Gymnastics Canada and six provincial member organizations. between 1978 and today.

“The defendants caused or contributed to the abuse of gymnasts by creating a culture and environment where abuse could occur, and by failing to take appropriate steps to protect the athletes in their care and control, many of whom were children when the abuse took place,” the statement read.

Defendants have 21 days to respond.

Cline was trained by Vladimir and Svetlana Lashin at Omega Gymnastics Sports Center in Coquitlam, BC.

Legal documents allege Cline continues to suffer

Legal documents allege that Cline, as a result of the abuse she suffered during training, continues to suffer numerous physical and psychological harms and injuries.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the B.C. Supreme Court, they include a training-induced seizure, back and neck injuries and chronic pain, a hamstring avulsion fracture, hand, wrist, finger and toe fractures, chronic knee pain, eating disorders, growth failure, anxiety, insomnia and nightmares.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Neither Gymnastics Canada, BC Gymnastics nor the Omega Club immediately responded to requests for comment.

The action seeks unspecified punitive and aggravated damages, past and future costs of health care services, and an order directing Gymnastics Canada and provincial bodies to implement, enforce and follow the procedures governance arrangements to prioritize the physical and psychological health of gymnasts.

The lawsuit comes after dozens of current and retired gymnasts wrote an open letter to Sport Canada about abuse in their sport.