Gymnasts Loes Linders and Stephanie Tijmes announced on Saturday that they belonged to the group that was abused and humiliated by coach Gerrit Beltman. The former trainer of a number of Dutch women admitted on Friday that he abused gymnasts.
Linders and Tijmes stepped out of anonymity by using the text "I'm one of them ... # file turn abuse" on social media. They are two of the ten gymnasts who testified in the Noordhollands Dagblad of, among other things, the abuse.
"The reason why we are now stepping out this way is to be able to conduct the public debate more firmly," Linders and Tijmes tell the newspaper. "The anonymized testimonials were meant not to reduce the discussion to one coach, one club or one generation. It is a universal story, and an international problem. That harrowing and painful observation must be discussed."
The 32-year-old Linders finished sixth on the balance beam at the 2006 European Championship and took part in the World Cup in 2005 and 2006. Like 29-year-old Tijmes, she ended her career years ago.
KNGU calls on gymnasts to file a declaration
The 64-year-old Beltman, who was responsible for Dutch top gymnasts such as Suzanne Harmes, Verona van de Leur, Gabriëlla Wammes and Renske Endel at the beginning of this century, confessed to being guilty of physical and psychological abuse, humiliation and manipulation on Friday.
Beltman, who is currently active as a turn coach in Singapore, was accused years ago of assault, harassment and causing psychological problems by Harmes, who also lashed out at coach Frank Louter at the time.
The Dutch gymnastics federation KNGU responded almost immediately to Beltman's confession on Friday. The union wrote on the website the stories "unfortunately" to recognize and called on the gymnasts involved to report.
Improvement: This article previously stated that three Dutch gymnasts revealed that they belong to the abused group, but that turned out to be two. We have corrected the incorrectness.