The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF or Foundation), an independent legal entity for safeguarding in gymnastics, today launched a clear and bold six-year strategic framework, Gymnasts 2028, aimed at making the sport of gymnastics safe, thriving and impactful for all. Gymnasts 2028 takes a human-centric approach, placing gymnasts and the people that support and serve gymnastics at the heart of its work. It has been designed to engage all key stakeholders inside and outside the institutional gymnastics system. The timeframe structures the Foundation’s work and allows for impactful action leading up to the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 editions of the Olympic Games, which are both seen as critical benchmark moments for the sport of gymnastics and wider issues concerning ethics, integrity and safety in global sport more generally.
Learn more details about Gymnasts 2028 here.
The President of the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, said on this occasion:
“Gymnasts 2028 outlines an ambitious vision that the GEF seeks to achieve underpinned by a strong, relevant, agile strategic framework. The GEF Council wholeheartedly established and adopted this framework focusing on our collective responsibilities to create a safe, thriving, and impactful sport for all gymnasts to participate and compete in throughout their lives. The time is now, and the actions needed are clear. Taking no action is not an option.“
Drawing lessons from the Foundation’s first four years of operations including the management of more than 135 cases, Gymnasts 2028 outlines urgent challenges and trends in gymnastics and describes how the GEF seeks to address them through five strategic priority areas. These areas relate to harm prevention, discipline and adjudication, capacity development, growth, and value generation in cooperation with a global network (the global gymnastics ecosystem).
Examples of planned activities under these five priority areas include:
engage, support and protect survivors, whistle-blowers and investigative media involved in exposing, uncovering or addressing harmful and unethical behaviour;
develop relationships, formal partnerships and resources with athlete-led organisations, sport integrity bodies, sports bodies, government, IGOs and NGOs, and law enforcement that develop proactive systems for intelligence gathering;
identify, assess and mitigate strategic and operational institutional risks across the global gymnastics ecosystem in accordance with international standards (e.g. ISO 31000) and best practices;
commission, identify, assess and promote research related to various topics that impact the safety, ethics and integrity of gymnastics (age, gender, equipment, scoring, etc.); and
support and provide athlete and child rights guidance on the formulation of rules, regulations, policies, procedures and practices.
GEF Director Alex McLin explained:
“Our approach is values-based and rooted in upholding and practising international standards and best practices. It aims to build trust, attain legitimacy, uphold justice, nurture innovation and to be evolutionary.”
“It’s essential to engage all key stakeholders inside and outside the classical gymnastics system as we are all individually and collectively responsible for achieving a world of gymnastics we want to see.”
Examples of actors outside the institutional gymnastics system include survivors of abuse, human rights organisations, manufacturers and suppliers, sponsors, media and broadcasters, and trade unions.
The title of the new framework, Gymnasts 2028, serves as a permanent reminder of those the GEF seeks to protect and serve, the gymnasts.
Ivana Hong, athletes’ representative on the GEF Council from 2019 until the end of 2022, said in this regard:
“Gymnasts 2028 is an effort to shift from the priority of winning at all costs, to developing and supporting gymnasts in ways that enable success inside and outside of the gym for both the near and far term. It's seeing the gymnast for more than just their score or placement, and instead as a human-being, one that has so much potential and growth in the moment and ahead. This potential and growth can either be nourished or destroyed by the environment and people they embark on their gymnastics career with. While a gymnast first approach does exist today, it's not as prevalent as we believe it could be. Working towards this shift in culture and mindset is a team effort from all constituents involved, including the gymnasts themselves, and a journey that we deeply believe should be a priority to create a healthy relationship with each other and the sport in ways that when a gymnastics career concludes, everyone walks away with a skill set that prepares them for life beyond the competition floor. ”
The Gymnastics Ethics Foundation will use the new strategic framework as the basis for developing its annual activity plan, communicating progress, and a tool for accountability.