UK bobsleigh head coach caught in racist scandal with comments about black people
The new head coach of British bobsleigh Lee Johnston has been accused of racism. He reportedly told a black member of the squad that “black drivers do not make good bobsleigh drivers”.
Johnston represented Britain at three Winter Olympics before being promoted to the coaching position a fortnight ago. He was formally disciplined after the incident in 2013, according to the Guardian.
The coach reportedly also told the squad member Toby Olubi: “I knew you would be late because you are black”.
Another athlete, Henry Nwume, is said to have made a complaint about Johnston’s comments. Henry complained to the sport’s governing body the British Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association (BBSA).
In a statement the BBSA said: “This matter was formally investigated and dealt with appropriately at the time”.
Among other allegations surrounding British Bobsleigh uncovered by the Guardian include £500,000 wasted on a sled which riders deemed sub-standard. Additionally, riders were told they would miss out on Olympic selection if they complained publicly about bullying, sexism and racism.
BBSA has recently seen a high turnover of backroom staff after a “toxic atmosphere” within the team was uncovered.
The BBC reported in June that several senior members of the bobsleigh team had spoken to the chief executive of the BBSA Richard Parker. The members detailed concerns “of the highest order, mentioning bullying, racism, sexism and discrimination”.
Parker told squad at the time: “It is clear that a number of athletes feel strongly about the performance environment and how they are communicated to”.
BBSA is receiving £5m of taxpayers’ money for its preparations ahead of the Winter Olympics in Peongchang next February.
Last month, it was revealed the governing body was cutting its funding for its only women’s team while maintaining support for all three men’s crews.
Photo Credit: SportsAidUK