The British Cycling Federation announced the dismissal of sprint coach Kevin Stewart for misconduct violations and “long-term inappropriate relationships with riders.”
Stewart was to be on the British coaching staff for track events at the Tokyo Olympics.
The national governing body of cycling in the United Kingdom indicated that Stewart failed to heed repeated warnings about his conduct, or follow specific direction of his superiors with regard to respecting athletes’ personal boundaries. Furthermore, it was found that Stewart continued to have inappropriate exchanges with athletes via electronic communications.
“I offer my sincere apologies to the team for my behavior that was not acceptable,” said Stewart. “I realized that my actions made my position within the team untenable and I submitted my resignation even before being removed from my functions.”
Following an investigation into Stewart’s conduct, it was determined that there was no evidence of a physical relationship between Stewart and GB athletes.
“While this has been uncomfortable for everybody concerned, it demonstrates the robustness of the processes we have in place when concerns are raised,” said British Cycling performance director Stephen Park. “The Great Britain Cycling Team has a clear set of expected behaviors and values and we must hold ourselves and each other to account when we do not meet the standards of behavior we set as a team.”
Following the Rio Olympic Games, GB cycling came under scrutiny and criticism by some of the athletes who claimed a “culture of fear” within the organization and feared dismissal for speaking out for reporting improper and sexist comments.
Sprinter Jess Varnish made allegations of sexism against director Shane Sutton. Eight of nine specific legal claims made by Varnish were denied, however further investigation determined that while the sprint star was denied due process, she was not unfairly dismissed.
AFP contributed to this report.