Hucknall's Becky Downie controversially misses out on Team GB Olympic selection

Hucknall’s two-time Olympian Becky Downie has controversially missed out on selection for Team GB's women's artistic gymnastics team at the Tokyo Olympics.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 8:59 am
Becky Downie - Tokyo heartbreak.
Becky Downie - Tokyo heartbreak.

It comes after Downie (29) previously spoke out about an alleged culture of abuse and fear in British gymnastics.

But British Gymnastics say the decision was "based solely on gymnastic merit" amidst claims that they have sent a warning shot to other athletes who may speak out.

They added the decision to omit Downie from the squad was based on prioritising the team event, which relies on performances across all four apparatus, rather than specialists.

Downie said the decision had left her gutted and needing answers.

"Ever since I was a little girl, winning an Olympic gold medal has always been my dream,” she said in a statement.

"I don't have the words to describe how it feels now not being able to even try.

"This past year has been incredibly difficult, but this last month has been unimaginable.

"Now is not the time, but I have so many questions. None more so than why I was offered an additional trial under such challenging circumstances, given what we all know now.

"I'm not sure what will happen in terms of my future, but all I know is that I still love the sport, and I feel like I'm in the form of my life. I do know that I don't want to retire like this."

Downie has also received support from the campaign group Gymnasts for Change.

"We're often concerned that British Gymnastics prioritises podiums over people, but with Becky having criticised the culture in British gymnastics just last year, it's hard not to assume that their motivation in effectively ending Becky Downie's career is a sinister warning to those who might speak out in future," a statement read.

The 29-year-old was granted a special chance to qualify for the team after her brother Josh died suddenly ahead of the final trials last month and British Gymnastics delayed the selection to allow her to compete for a spot.

Downie made her GB debut in 2006 and had delayed her retirement for a final attempt at her first Olympic medal.