Singer Cody Simpson was dominating attention ahead of Australia’s Olympic swimming trials, until Maddie Groves withdrew from the six-day meet following a series of social media posts condemning “misogynistic perverts” in the sport.
Groves didn’t detail her allegations, which initially surfaced last year, and Swimming Australia president Kieren Perkins on Friday said he was trying to contact the two-time Olympic silver medalist.
“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 told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “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, who won silver medals in the 200-meter butterfly and a relay at the 2016 Olympics, said she planned to delete her Twitter app after posting: “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.
She posted later Friday on Instagram to say her decision to withdraw from Olympic selection was not based on a “singular incident.”
“It's partly because there's a pandemic on, but mostly it's the culmination of years of witnessing and ‘benefitting’ from a culture that relies on people ignoring bad behavior to thrive. I need a break.”
The Olympics, set to open July 23, have already been postponed 12 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.