In April 2016, elite track rider, Jess Varnish was dropped from the British Cycling team after a disappointing finish in the Team Sprint at the World Championships. Herself and Katy Marchant had secured the position they needed to compete in the Rio Olympics.
Jess Varnish made a bold public announcement about the failure of British Cycling, and the way in which it conducted itself. Namely pointing at then technical director, Shane Sutton, who allegedly told Varnish to "go and have a baby". Further comments and criticisms were made about Varnish's weight and figure, amounting to a serious form of bullying within British Cycling.
Shortly after going public with her allegations towards Sutton and British Cycling, World and Olympic Road Champion Nicole Cooke, and track legend Victoria Pendleton too came forward to share their similar experiences. Pedleton said: "I would not be able to live with myself if I sat back and let people try to discredit [Varnish’s] character. Not when I wholeheartedly believe her. My experiences [at British Cycling] were very similar. And I know exactly how miserable they made me."
Within the space of 24 hours, British Cycling's Technical Director, Shane Sutton, was suspended, and later resigned from his position amidst allegations. A full investigation was launched last year, a report we are still waiting to have released after many delays.
We know that Shane Sutton was investigated and that further claims supported Varnish's initial allegations. However, last December we learnt that Sutton was cleared of 8 of the 9 charges against him. Three months on from this, and we're still waiting for a full report to be released, one that isn't bound to secrecy, or reduced to a nonsensical document that Varnish's lawyers have been presented with.
Feeling frustrated to say the least, Varnish is now asking British Cycling to release her personal data, including text messages in order to better understand the process of investigation. While she continues to fight for disclosure, the 26 year old track star has said she would love the opportunity to achieve gold medals again.