GB gymnastics coach was blocked from going to Tokyo Olympics following abuse allegations

Amelie Morgan (far right) celebrates with Alice Kinsella, Jennifer Gadirova and Jessica Gadirova winning the bronze in the women's team final at the Tokyo Olympics - PA
Amelie Morgan (far right) celebrates with Alice Kinsella, Jennifer Gadirova and Jessica Gadirova winning the bronze in the women's team final at the Tokyo Olympics - PA

A Great Britain gymnastics coach was blocked from going to the Olympics last year following abuse allegations made against her.

Liz Kincaid was the longtime coach of Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Amelie Morgan, who won Britain's first team medal in 94 years, and her retirement was cited last July as the reason for her absence at the Games.

However it has now emerged she was pulled from her duties by British Gymnastics due to shocking allegations made by former gymnasts at her club, who claim she mishandled serious injuries and weight shamed them, according to a BBC report.

Kincaid has denied all allegations, while British Gymnastics said: “The BOA rules for Tokyo stated that no-one with any unresolved ongoing complaints about them could attend the Games as a Team GB coach or official."

The news comes ahead of next month's long-awaited Whyte Review publication, a Sport England and UK Sport commissioned independent review into safeguarding at British Gymnastics. The review was commissioned in July 2020 following widespread accounts of mistreatment within the sport which emerged that year and has had contributions from 400 people.

There is also a civil complaint being levied at the governing body by 37 former gymnasts, including a number of Olympians, who are seeking financial compensation for the impact of alleged widespread physical and emotional abuse within the sport.

Former Welsh gymnast Poppy Wynn is one of them, and claims she was not being monitored by her coach Kincaid when she tore her perineum aged 12 on the uneven bars, after landing in oversplits. Wynn alleges that Kincaid dismissed her injury despite the fact she was visibly bleeding and she was later hospitalised, with her mother describing what she saw of her injuries as "worse than childbirth".

Wynn and Sophie Jameson, also coached by Kincaid, told the BBC that they were forced to train with broken bones and were made to feel "less than human" by Kincaid's shouting and weight shaming. Both gymnasts expressed concerns Kincaid could walk back into a gym at any time due to the lack of transparency in British Gymnastics' lengthy investigation process.

"You need to take these investigations a lot more seriously and speed up the process because I see no change," Jameson told BBC. "[Kincaid] is still very capable of walking into a gym and coaching, and right now I really don't think she should be."

Kincaid, who founded Bristol's The Academy of Gymnastics Portishead and coached three gymnasts to the Olympics, has denied all allegations, saying: "The health, well-being and safety of the gymnasts under my care and tuition was of paramount importance to me and a matter close to my heart. To suggest I would mistreat the gymnasts goes against every principle I live by and is very upsetting."

She is the latest high profile coach to have public allegations made against her. In August 2020 national head coach Amanda Reddin temporarily stepped away from her role while an investigation into her conduct was made by British Gymnastics, and last year Colin Still controversially remained on the selection committee for the Tokyo squad despite standing accused of weight shaming by Olympic bronze medallist Amy Tinkler in 2020. It's understood that both cases remain ongoing.

On Monday British Gymnastics declined to comment on the specific complaints against Kincaid, but said it would undergo a "programme of reform" after details of the Whyte Review are released next month. “British Gymnastics is determined to learn from all those who have bravely come forward and raised concerns," the statement read. "We are deeply sorry to those that have had a poor experience in our sport where we have fallen short.”

Campaign group Gymnasts for Change said it is "vital for the protection and confidence of the gymnastics community that allegations concerning abusive coaches are thoroughly and transparently investigated - with action taken to prevent proven abusers returning to the sport".