Striker Helen Russo, who is currently based in Turkey, reveals that “emotional abuse is something that has happened to our group”. I’m too afraid to talk about it. I’m still afraid. Not just me, I think. I’m glad I dare to do it now.”
The Tigers took bronze at the European Championships in 2013, and a year later they took part in the World Cup. Then he went to the slope of the national team. “We became known at the time, but everyone had the wrong idea about us,” said Freya Eilbrecht. “When the gymnasts came up with their open letter, we thought, yeah, that’s exactly how it felt for us too. Not the physical abuse, but the emotional. This display of strength, this control, that manipulation…that is our story. Especially that fear that guided us It wasn’t the right system for you to take yourself to a higher level as a top athlete and as an adult.”
“It was rather comforting to know that (Stories from the world of gymnastics, editor) Let’s see,” says Russo. “It’s a shame it’s happening, but it’s also a relief to see it happen there. There are many beautiful pictures of that bronze in the 2013 European Championships, which should be a nice story. However, I have mixed feelings about it. I remember when someone came over and told me to enjoy it. I wanted to do it and I forced him too hard. I wanted to forget everything, but I couldn’t. I was bullied by the coach. Step by step, something was always taken away. That continued to convince the team that I wasn’t good enough. This was the hardest thing for me, because no one was behind me.”
According to Albrecht, there was “negative echo training”. According to the central striker, it was mainly “screaming and screaming” by the coach and staff. “It was divide and conquer using fear toward the group,” after which she read aloud several personal attacks from her cell phone. “Do you look after the fat, the bitch, the weak bitches, the gang of girls, the goats, the stupid ass, the farm horse, the nightclub dances…”
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Valerie Courtois, the retired sister of the Red Devil, also told Thibaut Courtois her story. “The coach’s idea was that we had to be taken seriously if we wanted to make that happen outside. However, I don’t think that was always necessary. So it wasn’t always an environment where you felt good about yourself. There was also always pressure to follow what was being said. Because if you go out You mortgage your career prospects.”
According to Albrecht, there was also expose fat. “When people constantly throw at you how fat you are, with obscene words… sometimes personally, but usually just towards the team. It weighs on the group. After losing the semi-finals at Euro 2013 we were verbally abused for two hours because of dirt in the street. Also because we are all so fat, it was so humiliating. A number of guys cried for an hour.”
Vande Broek has always been praised as an authority in training. As a professor, he teaches at KU Leuven, including training techniques. Vande Broek was informed of the documentary about a week ago by VRT, but she didn’t want to respond. Not even last night after the broadcast. “I want to take a look at whether and how I will respond to the allegations.” Vande Broek was an advisor to the Weyts Cabinet for many years.
Vandy Brooke’s assistant Chris Vanznick responds with the Yellow Tigers. “It is shameful that the TV show filming changed,” reads the letter. “Many colleagues both inside and outside the sport consider him a reference in training. Making a player better is his creed, so he will do everything – on and off the field. He is demanding on the field, but at least supportive off the field.”