Pavier, 24, told BBC Sport how she developed bulimia when she was 14 and that she retired three years later after becoming “a shell of a person”.
It is heartbreaking to read of the abuse suffered by Nicole Pavier and her peers and we fully commend the independent review announced by British Gymnastics as a consequence. Whilst reading, we were reminded of a recent Times article where Olympic medallist, Marily Okoro, revealed her battle with an eating disorder and told how she too was repeatedly ordered to lose weight.
No one, particularly those at a young age working in such competitive, gruelling industries, should be subject to a “culture of fear” that encourages individuals to question their sense of self and worth as a human being. Pavier’s story of retiring at age 17 after becoming “a shell of a person” demonstrates the severe impact on an individual’s mental health when their bodies are micro-managed.
At Orri, a lot of our therapeutic work is centred around unifying the body and mind using a combination of yoga, mindfulness and meditation to help people connect their bodies with their feelings.
Eating disorders thrive in competitive environments that seek perfection around arbitrary expectations. What’s more, once unwell, recovery from an eating disorder requires consistent work and dedication. As stated Pavier so succinctly states: “It has such a long-term implication.”
Maintaining a caring and nurturing relationship with our bodies is crucial as we grow up and learn to navigate the world. Focusing on weight and body shape/size disrupts this process and can leave people feeling alienated from their own bodies.
At Orri, a lot of our therapeutic work is centred around unifying the body and mind using a combination of yoga, mindfulness and meditation to help people connect their bodies with their feelings. We hope that the independent review will illuminate the need of stark changes in how athletes (of all ages) are treated and coached.