Aussies have criticised the sacking of a former Olympian who claims he was dismissed from his role as a children’s gymnastics coach after using the word “beautiful” in an email to parents.
Lindsay Nylund said he was fired from his job at the City of Canada Bay Council’s Five Dock Leisure Centre, in Sydney’s inner west, in May after being “accused of sexually objectifying the gymnasts”.
“At the time, I thought, look, this is a terrible mistake, it’s just a mistake,” the 65-year-old told A Current Affair this week. “For a children’s gymnastic coach, that’s probably the worst thing somebody could accuse you of doing.”
Mr Nylund’s troubles started in February after he sent what he believed was a harmless email about his high performance squad, which he had led for the past two-and-a-half years.
“And in that email I said words to the effect, ‘hi all … our beautiful Level 8 Women’s Artistic Gymnasts’, and I named them, ‘all achieved apparatus ribbons in today’s state trial’,” he said.
A photo of four of his gymnasts sitting on a balance bar holding their ribbons was attached. He claims that despite initially receiving positive feedback, just months later he lost his job for using of the word “beautiful” to describe the women’s team.
Council responds to criticism
According to The Australian, the Canada Bay Council listed three other reasons for Mr Nylund’s sacking, including “undermining and showing a lack of respect towards management”, “having an unapproved dinner with the parents of his gymnasts”, and “transporting gymnasts by car without parent approval”.
In a statement to ACA, the council said “it does not comment on staffing matters”.
The former Olympian described the reasons for his firing as “bogus” but said he fears the allegation of sexually objectifying the gymnasts “has destroyed [his] character and reputation”.
The dad-of-three is now taking the case to the Industrial Relations Commission, with a four-day hearing scheduled for mid-November, according to News.com.au.
Aussies slam firing as 'absolute joke'
Video footage of Mr Nylund’s plea for his job back has caused a stir online since being posted on ACA’s TikTok on Friday. One viewer called the 65-year-old’s firing “absolutely shocking”, while another wondered “what has Australia come to”.
“World has gone mad,” someone simply said, as another wrote: “This is absolute a joke”.
“This is sad. I’ve worked with this man and while we only met once, he was lovely!” a woman commented.
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