Amelia Cline filed a class action lawsuit Wednesday morning before the Supreme Court of British Columbia against Gymnastics Canada and six provincial organizations, including the Quebec Federation.
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This class action, which has affected all gymnasts since 1978 until now, is in the same vein as that filed by five former swimmers against Canada Artistic Swimming (NAC) in March 2021 at the Montreal courthouse.
The class action lawsuit comes on the heels of the open letter published a month ago that garnered 70 signatures on the GymnastforChange website. The total signatures are now 450.
“By moving forward with the class action lawsuit, Amelia wants to get real changes from Gymnastics Canada to protect the next generation of athletes,” said Me Valérie Lord, partner at Howie, Sacks.
"We hope that Gymnastics Canada will take the opportunity to work with the athletes towards the stated objectives," continued Me Lord. We hope that the class action will move the case forward. Amelia is very determined and very brave. »
Cline left the Omega club in 2003 after her coach Vladimir Lashin forced her to perform on the balance beam even though she had a groin injury. After two falls where she feared she had broken her neck, she retired to the locker room even though her trainer was yelling at her to change gear.
Cline was met by Lashin after practice and the latter forced her onto the scale.
“You are too heavy and that is why you are constantly injuring yourself, his coach told him,” reads the document filed in court.
Punitive damages claimed
The 14-year-old complainant weighed 80 pounds. Investigation into Cline's complaint came to nothing, and Lashin was promoted to lead the Canadian team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Punitive damages are claimed, but the amount is not specified.
“There is no figure because we do not know the number of athletes who will join the class action, indicated the partner of the Toronto firm, but we want punitive damages for physical and psychological damage. as well as reimbursement of past and future medical expenses. In our justice system, we know that this type of case can stretch over a period of two, three, five or even ten years depending on the approach of the defendants, but this is an important case for us and for society. Canadian. »