Australian swimmer Madeline Groves withdraws from Olympic trials, cites 'misogynistic perverts, boot lickers'

Australia's Madeline Groves poses with her silver medal on the podium of the Women's 200m Butterfly Final during the swimming event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 10, 2016.   / AFP / Odd Andersen        (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Madeline Groves won't compete in Tokyo after winning two silver medals in 2016. (Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images)

Two-time Australian Olympic medalist Madeline Groves won't compete for a spot in the Tokyo Games, citing exploitation of "young women and girls" in swimming.

Groves, 26, won silver medals at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games in the 200-meter butterfly and the 4x100-meter medley. She announced on social media Wednesday that she "made the decision to not compete at Olympic Trials in Adelaide." She also wrote that she was "very relieved" and "excited to watch everyone at trials," but did not initially provide a reason for her withdrawal.

Her explanation arrived later Wednesday in a critical Twitter statement.

"Let this be a lesson to all misogynistic perverts in sport and their boot lickers - 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," Groves wrote. "Time’s UP"

Groves did not name names or go into specifics. On Thursday, she thanked her followers for their support and announced that she's deleting the Twitter app.

Groves' previous accusations of inappropriate conduct

Groves has levied previous criticism, including recounting last November a "weirdo" who stared at her while she was wearing a swimsuit. She wrote that that incident happened "a few years ago" and that the person who works in swimming has "possibly been given a promotion since."

She also wrote that a coach made a sexual comment to her when she was 20 years old while she was working to make the Australian swim team.

Governing body's response to Groves' accusations

According to Reuters, governing body Swimming Australia reached out to Groves after her November Twitter posts.

"Swimming Australia reached out to Maddie in December 2020 to enquire about a tweet sent by her that referenced potential abuse by someone connected with swimming," an SA statement read, per Reuters. "Maddie declined to provide further information nor do we have any previous complaints on record from Maddie.

"All allegations concerning child abuse or sexual misconduct are taken seriously by Swimming Australia. We consider the welfare, safety and wellbeing of children and young people as paramount, and we have a duty to make inquiries to uphold the standards of our sport."

Groves also expressed concern about COVID-19 in Tokyo

Groves also criticized last month an International Olympic Committee waiver for the Tokyo Games stating that participants "will take part in the Games at his/her own risk and own responsibility including ... serious bodily injury or even death raised by the potential exposure to health hazards such as the transmission of COVID-19.”

It's not clear if concerns about COVID-19 in Tokyo also played a role in her decision.

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