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The Federal Rhythmic Gymnastics Center of the Desio Academy is at the center of controversy and complaints. In recent days, some former Italian athletes have spoken publicly about the physical and psychological abuse they suffered as teenagers. A scandal that seems to be in its infancy.

The first to tell her story in the newspapers, points out, was the national athlete Nina Corradini. After her interview, other girls and women also spoke publicly, sharing very similar experiences. The public prosecutor of Brescia, responsible for Desio, has opened an investigation. On November 2, the new Minister of Sports, Andrea Abodi, met with the President of CONI, Giovanni Malagò, and the President of Federginery, Gherardo Tecchi.

Blues at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo Ansa / Ciro Fusco

Nina Corradini, now 19, told Repubblica about the pressures, offenses and humiliations suffered since 2019 within the Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy to meet the weight parameters of the national team. Corradini said he wanted to tell his story to “give voice to all the other victims of these pressures”. The athlete explained that she was weighed every day, with the other companions, “in her underwear and in front of everyone”. And “always by the same coach” who wrote the data in a notebook and then gave his own judgment. “I was trying to be the last in line, I didn’t want to be laughed at in front of the team,” said Nina Corradini, noting the level of humiliation she suffered.

“Rhythmic, a nightmare”

But this is not enough. According to the account of the rhythmic athlete, the coach repeated to him every day: “Shame on you”, “eat less”, “how can you see yourself in the mirror? But can you really look at yourself?” “A suffering.” Weight control, Corradini said, took place after breakfast. “In fact, for two years I never did. From time at times, I would just eat a cookie, obviously in secret, while we changed for practice. I weighed myself 15 times a day.” To fit the weight parameters, he also said he secretly takes a laxative. “The laxative dehydrated me and, not eating, I had no more strength. I fell ill, I had little iron in my body. Once I passed out during breakfast, but the coaches made me go to the gym anyway, they thought it was an excuse.”

Photo Ansa / Ciro Fusco

Also in Repubblica, a second athlete, who later left the Desio Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy, Anna Basta, told of a very similar experience. Basta joined the Academy in 2016, when she was 15 years old. He explained that he had had suicidal thoughts, that he had suffered from panic attacks and eating problems that continued even after his release, which took place in 2020. Repubblica writes that Anna Basta, before leaving the Academy, “had denounced everything ‘upstairs’, but “nobody ever did anything”.

The “butterflies” of rhythmic gymnastics celebrate their bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo Ansa / Ciro Fusco

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