British Cycling has come into the limelight recently as track cyclist Jess Varnish reported she was told by the organization’s sports chief that she was “too old” for sports and should “go and have a baby.”
Varnish, who previously criticized the management of British Cycling for the way it handled the women’s Olympic selection, was dropped from the British team after a performance review, and said she heard the sexist feedback at that point from British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton.
The organization promised to investigate. "We treat any such allegations with the utmost seriousness and we will be contacting Jess to offer to discuss her concerns in full," British Cycling officials said in a statement.
"As with all other riders on the track program, she was subject to a performance review following the worlds (championships) and the data did not justify Jess retaining a lottery-funded place on the podium program as an athlete with medal potential in this Olympic cycle or the next," Sutton added in a statement.
This is not the only instance of sexism that has recently surfaced in the sports industry. With reference to the popular London Marathon, bicycler Nicole Cooke in an article for The Guardian has raised her voice regarding the same issue highlighting how men are given more importance than women in sports and receive most of the glory while the “girlies” are simply “allowed” to be there on the day.
She added that while the men got the grand rewards, their female counterparts were handed some token gifts only.
Cooke also wrote that she herself had similar experiences with Sutton and that her sympathies lie with Varnish.
These two athletes are not the only ones speaking up about sexism. Previously celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Charlize Theron and Olivia Wilde have raised their voices regarding the issue, highlighting how they felt “minimilized” and underpaid as compared to male counterparts.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: REUTERS/Andrew Winning