Toni Minichiello led Jessica Ennis-Hill to gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London
Toni Minichiello, who coached Jessica Ennis-Hill to a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, received a lifetime ban from UK Athletics after discovering he had engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior in addition to emotional abuse and bullying.
UK Athletics said the findings presented by a disciplinary committee were “with the utmost seriousness” in a report.
Furthermore, they also included blatant breaches of trust which seriously affected the mental health and well-being of some of Minichiello’s athletes, although Ennis-Hill is not believed to have been one.
Minichiello was suspended last year while the investigation was ongoing. It was launched following complaints from several female athletes and coaches and revealed that over a period of 15 years, Minichiello had made inappropriate sexual references and gestures to female athletes, including mimicking “female genitals and oral sex” and told an athlete to “suck my ****” while frequently referring to his own genitalia as his “Spicy Italian sausage.“
Minichiello also failed to respect the athletes’ privacy and made intrusive inquiries into their personal lives, including once asking an athlete if she “already made love while doing weights”.
Minichiello also engaged in physical sexual behavior with his victims, such as inappropriate and unwanted touching of female athletes in his care, including “dry bump” to imitate sexual intercourse and touch the breasts of two athletes.
Her behavior was also aggressive at times, and included intimidation and emotional abuse, such as having a female athlete sit with a cone on top of her head to represent a “donkey hat”.
UK Athletics said such incidents represented “to a large number of breaches of the terms of the UKA coaching license over a period of 15 years” and constituted “gross breach of trust by Mr. Minichiello which has had serious consequences for the mental health and mental well-being of the athletes under his care”.
Minichiello’s coaching license having already expired, the organization was unable to suspend or sanction him. As the allegations were so serious, however, they guaranteed the 56-year-old would never coach again.
“The issuance of a UKA license to a coach is essentially a representation on behalf of the UKA that the coach in question can be trusted by the athletes under his care”, UK Athletics noted, adding that it is “firmly of the opinion that there will never be a time in the future when it would be appropriate to give such assurance and issue such a license”.
UK Athletics have acknowledged that other allegations made against Minichiello are unproven. In a statement, he denied any wrongdoing and said he was not treated fairly by the body.
“I cannot fully express my disappointment with this decision and the unfair handling of this process by UK Athletics,” said Minichiello.
“I strongly deny all charges against me. I have been a coach for over 30 years and although I have been tough and demanding, I have not behaved inappropriately towards any of my athletes, like many of they would confirm it.
Minichiello went on to say that it was “It is very important that UK Athletics respond promptly and seriously to serious allegations of misconduct, particularly where such allegations are made by young people”.
“However, these investigations and these tribunals must be conducted carefully, legally and fairly,” he added. he agreed, concluding that he did not believe he had been “treated fairly in this case”.
For his work with Ennis-Hill, whom he has coached since the age of 13 in their shared hometown of Sheffield, Minichiello has received accolades such as Coach of the Year presented by the Princess Royal and the award BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach in 2012.
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