Rhythmic gymnastics, investigations continue. The former butterflies: "We had become just numbers on the scale"

“The girls have been overwhelmed by an unexpected event”. So did the federal prosecutor Michael Rossetti who is handling the internal investigation of theDesio rhythmic gymnastics academyafter the abuse and harassment scandal uncovered by the two former butterflies Anna Basta and Nina Corradini, who also reiterate their stories on “Verissimo” in the episode broadcast on Saturday 19 November on Canale 5.

During the second day of investigations, the prosecutor Fgi Rossetti explains that the internal investigation will not come to give verdicts before a month. “We are listening to everyone involved in the organization and management of the centre. We will continue to listen to the athletes and those who have set foot in the structure in any capacity. We are in one cognitive stage, we are understanding what is happening or has happened and the organizational and educational method that is applied” are the words of Rossetti. We are still in the protest stage. first we have to understand the facts and then optionally give them a value: there are currently no hypotheses of a disciplinary offense or something else” the prosecutor said again, adding “now is the time to reorganize the information acquired from this fact-finding investigation. We will most likely hear from other people – we are also following other investigations that do not concern the academy of Desio“.

The first to be listened to by Rossetti was the coach Emanuela Maccarani and then all the technical staff, including nutritionists and psychologists. “I have just been heard by the federal prosecutor and I am very serene” is the laconic comment of the technician who limits himself to saying “the investigations are underway, we trust in sports justice”.

He also intervenes on the scandal Giovanni Malagò, president of Coni. “I’m not a judgewe must not become judges, there are investigations, the federal prosecutor is interrogating, then there will be a report, I don’t know what measures there will be, at the same time there is a public prosecutor, Brescia, which is investigating, it is clear that we are in a position to say nothing “. The words of the president of CONI come from the hall of the Municipal Council of Aosta during the 1131st meeting of the national council regarding the story of the alleged ill-treatment and harassment told by former gymnasts of the Italian national rhythmics team which then saw public complaints from other sportswomen.

Desio Academy

Anna Basta and Nina Corradini at “Verissimo”

Anna Enough And Nina Corradini, in the November 19 episode of “Verissimo” (broadcast on Canale 5) they tell the truth about the alleged abuses suffered in the years spent in the national team, made up of humiliation and harassment. Stories that were then made public by many other athletes. “We were weighed every day, all together, in a row one by one. Before the weigh-in we had also stopped eating breakfast and we were even afraid to drink a glass of water because it made all the difference. And if the weight, according to them, was not the right one they insulted us publicly with phrases like ‘shame on you!’, ‘you’re pregnant’, ‘look at your belly’” declares Basta. And Corradini adds: “These phrases were repeated to us every day, throughout the training sessions. We were just gods numbers on the balancewe no longer had value either as people or as gymnasts”.


Anna Basta and Nina Corradini (Instagram)
Anna Basta and Nina Corradini (Instagram)

Questioned by Silvia Toffanin about the relationship they had with the coaching staff, the two former blue butterflies declared: “The relationship that is created with the coaches is almost dependenceyou seek their approval even if you know they are hurting you. They make you think you’re in the wrong”.

A distorted perception of one’s body that led Corradini to abuse laxatives to lose weight. “I started taking them in September 2020 and I took one in the evening, so much so that they no longer had an effect. I once took three, lost three pounds in one night, and the next morning I’m fainted. That’s when I realized I was putting mine at risk physical health and psychology” Corradini explains, specifying that “anyway that day they made me train the samebecause for them injuries are just an excuse not to train”.

Psychological abuse such that Basta even considered the idea of take his own life: “I thought about it a lot. For a very long time, I lived with the thought that my life was meaningless.” A hidden suffering all the time, so much so that their families didn’t suspect a thing: “We leave home very young, we immediately become independent and we know we have to protect families. My parents were shocked when I told him – says Basta -. I decided to quit rhythmic gymnastics in May 2020 and after a while all the suffering I had experienced poured over me and I went through a very dark period. Now I’ve got myself back on my feet also thanks to a psychological journey”. And on the difficult choice to talk about this world, the two former rhythmic butterflies agree: “We are moved by the fact that too many girls they are suffering and experiencing what we have experienced and it is not good. This sport is wonderfulit’s certain people who screw it up.”

The intervention of the psychologist

Young athletes are not machines to bring home medals and results. The pressures they suffer are excessive, too often you no longer see the person but only his performance. We need to work with the Federations, and in the Federations, so that there is adequate training for all the figures that revolve around the lives of boys and girls”. That’s what he claims Eleanor Ceccarellicouncilor of the Tuscan Order of Psychologists and referent of the Sport Psychology Working Group, after the cases of abuse reported by some gymnasts.


The psychologist Eleonora Ceccarelli
The psychologist Eleonora Ceccarelli

As the case of Geneva Parrini from Pisaa former member of the rhythmic gymnastics national team who confessed that he also lost 10 kilos a week because his diet was a salad for lunch it’s a apple for dinner. He was constantly harassed to do better and win titles and medals. “Sport is a growth gym not only from a technical point of view, this should be the mantra, the main objective of every adult who is involved in the sporting life of boys and girls, boys and girls – explains Ceccarelli -. Unfortunately, as the level of competition grows, young people become athletes and are seen and grown as performing machines, subjected to unspeakable physical and emotional hardships. Thus an anti-culture is created that values ​​an extreme competitiveness for precocity and for rhythms, a competitiveness that passes through the appropriation of the body of boys and girls”.


Geneva Parrini from Pisa
Geneva Parrini from Pisa

According to the psychologistthere is no space for listening and support for sportsmen and women who do not live only on glory. It would be advisable to prevent these situations, rather than intervene when faced with an emergency or, even worse, when there are lives destroyed by the suffered trauma”. Furthermore, Ceccarelli recalls the “fundamental” role of the figure of the psychologist “in support of the athletes, the coach, the team, the families, and more generally for all those who are dedicated to planning associated strategies to the world of sport aimed at improve health and prevent youth distress”.

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