“It was fear that was to lead to the medal” – Gabrielle Boisvert

– Gabrielle Boisvert ” />

BUILD À DAY

Among the five former national team swimmers who filed a class action lawsuit against Canada Artistic Swimming (CAS) in March 2021 and are seeking $250,000 in punitive damages, Gabrielle Boisvert believes that the parliamentary committee which will study the physical and mental health of female athletes must tackle solutions so that the abuses denounced for several months do not happen again.

Boisvert welcomes the establishment of the committee that was unveiled on Tuesday. “The committee can help ensure greater oversight of the Federations and provide a platform for athletes to speak before events escalate, underlined the one who wore the colors of the national team from 2015 to 2018. The problem must be dealt with at the source and not far away when it has gained momentum.”

After the wave of denunciations which continues to grow, Boisvert believes that it is time to move on to the second stage. 

“After the first step which was to denounce abuses of all kinds, the next step is to identify solutions to prevent such situations from happening again, she explained. This is the job of the parliamentary committee. The members will have a hard time, but many positive things will come out of it if they do a good job.”

Taboo

Abuse in sport has always been a subject that we preferred to ignore according to Boisvert. “It was a taboo subject and we didn't talk about it between the athletes because we thought it was normal as a situation,” she said. We now realize that we have to talk about it and that the culture of sport was based on bad values. It was fear that was to lead to the medal and not competition and the development of the athlete.”

With hindsight, Boisvert believes that the denunciations of the five former artistic swimmers of the team have made it possible to initiate a movement which, according to her, is not over.

“Since the wave started by artistic swimming, more athletes are speaking and being heard, which will bring more change. Since our release, several athletes have contacted me to find out what to do when they are victims of abuse. I redirected them to the appropriate resources.”

“We opened great doors to move things forward, but it's not over,” continued Boisvert, who is still involved in her sport as a coach. It's unfortunate to think like that, but I don't think it's over. There has been a lot of slacking off in many sports over the years. There have been no changes to the regulations for a long time.”

Victim of a concussion which was poorly treated and which led to his retirement, Boisvert did not believe that the class action lawsuit was going to have such a big impact.

“We knew artistic swimming wasn’t the only sport with problems, but I didn’t think there would be so many , she summarized. We had no idea what impact our decision to come out in the public square would have, but we couldn't have asked for more. It's boring to have to say what's going on, but it takes that for there to be changes.”

Boisvert does not regret having opened up in the public square. < /p>

“This outing allowed me to move on to another stage in my life, mentioned the kinesiologist, but it also led to all the other denunciations. We cannot regret. Our file is long and we are waiting for news from the court.