Amy Tinkler’s sad reasons for retiring from ‘toxic’ gymnastics career aged 20
Amy Tinkler became an Olympic medal winner in her teens, only to suddenly quit her promising gymnastics career at the age of 20.
The gymnast has been confirmed as the latest recruit for the 2021 season of Dancing On Ice, replacing Denise Van Outen in the rink following her withdrawal from the competition.
Partnered with Joe Johnson, Amy is due to make her debut on the show this Sunday, with Denise forced to leave the competition after suffering a shoulder injury.
While Amy, 21, is famed for her sportsmanship, her glittering career came to a sad end, claiming trauma and a "toxic" environment led to her retirement.
Amy was the youngest member of Team GB when she won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, spectacularly finishing behind US gymnasts Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.
Born in Durham, she first made a name for herself at the 2013 British Artistic Championships, where she ranked in second place, showing promise before the judges.
Winning the British Artistic Gymnastics Championships at just 15 years old, Amy went on to become Britain's second most successful female gymnast.
The teen continued to rake in titles after the Rio Olympics, but in 2020, she sent shockwaves through the British Gymnastics world when she announced her retirement.
At the time, in a statement shared via Twitter, she simply said: "Thank you to the gymnastics community, you've been my whole life and this is not goodbye.
"When one door closes, another one opens."
Later Amy went on to accuse British Gymnastics of lying to her for five months, after learning they had dismissed her complaint against women's head coach Amanda Reddin.
In a furious statement shared to her social media, Amy said: "This really stinks and my patience has run out.
"I've tried to do the right thing but the people running British Gymnastics cannot be trusted. They have let us down. They lie. We deserve better than this."
Amy had made a dual complaint about the bullying she'd experienced in South Durham, as well as issues she'd taken with Reddin's conduct as a coach.
However, after submitting the complaint in March 2020, Amy was upset to learn it had been dismissed five months later.
Demanding the governing body bring about change, she finished by saying: "Change at the top must happen before the right thing will be done."
British Gymnastics maintained Tinkler had not received any outcome from her complaint because their investigation into a separate complaint about Reddin was still underway.
Last August, Reddin temporarily stepped down from her position after being placed under investigation after allegations were made about her behaviour as a coach.
Medal-winning gymnast Ruby Harrold had previously claimed Reddin nurtured a "culture of fear" at the gymnast training centres in Lilleshall.
The coach was also accused of giving the gymnasts meagre food portions, leaving them hungry.
Harold had said: "How would you feel if you were 21 years old being given ultimately a baby plate to eat off? It's demeaning … it's unhealthy."
At the time, British Gymnastics confirmed an investigation was underway, saying: "The investigation will be completed by an external independent expert and any outcome actioned immediately."
Reddin has denied any wrongdoing.
In October, Amy also made an appearance on ITV News, claiming she'd lost "everything" after leaving her hometown in Durham to move to Essex after the Olympics.
Knocking the industry, she said: "At the end of the day I did nothing, I left an environment that was toxic."
Reflecting on her career, Amy admitted she would happily give up her Olympic medal if she could, claiming it only brought back painful memories.
She said: "I would give up that medal to not have gone through what I did, which is really sad.
"Obviously getting an Olympic medal is like not a normal thing. Not many people can say they've got an Olympic medal and the fact that I'd just rather not have that, to have gone through what I went to, it's really sad."
Daily Star has contacted British Gymnastics for comment.
Dancing On Ice airs on Sundays at 6pm on ITV.
- Dancing On Ice
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