Gymnastics Ireland apologises for ‘racism’ after viral video showed young black girl being skipped during medal ceremony and sparked outrage from critics including US Olympic champion Simone Biles
- Team USA gymnast was among many who condemned the actions of the official
Gymnastics Ireland is embroiled in a racism row after a shocking video showed a young black competitor being skipped over during a medal ceremony as her white peers were each given an award.
Olympic champion Simone Biles condemned the ‘heartbreaking’ incident and said she had sent a video of support to the young girl after her parents reached out.
The Team USA gymnast was among scores online condemning the actions of the official, writing on X: ‘There is no room for racism in any sport or at all!!!!’
The video shows a lineup of young gymnasts awaiting their awards, with the little girl excitedly waiting for her medal before being overlooked.
Gymnastics Ireland has now apologised for the incident after the girl’s parents alleged the snub was due to racism.
The little girl excitedly shuffles forward as she anticipates being handed the medal, before the official moves on to the next gymnast in the lineup
The video shows a lineup of young gymnasts awaiting their awards, with the little girl excitedly waiting for her medal as her peers are awarded theirs
Olympic champion Simone Biles condemned the ‘heartbreaking’ incident and said she had sent a video of support to the young girl
The sports body said it ‘engaged immediately’ with the competitor’s parents following their complaint over incident.
The girl’s mother said the family were ‘very upset’ at how their daughter had been treated by Gymnastics Ireland and that they believe she was ignored because she is black, the Irish Independent reports.
Many have pointed out that the official walked off with the last remaining medal at the end of the clip, with all the children in the lineup receiving one apart from the girl.
Gymnastics Ireland said that it engaged with the woman, who is now no longer a member of the sporting body after she chose not to renew her membership.
They said she ‘accepted fully that what had happened had not been acceptable but stressed that it had not been intentional’.
‘The official concerned said that upon realising the mistake they immediately rectified it and ensured that the competitor concerned was presented with her medal before she left the Field of Play (FoP).
‘The official also expressed deep regret for what they described as an honest error and requested the opportunity to apologise in person to the competitor and her family. This request was initially declined.
‘A written apology provided by the identified individual has since been issued to the competitor and her family.’
The statement went on: ‘Initially we attempted to address the matter through the informal process of our discipline and complaints policy.
‘However, following a series of communications with the parents they informed Gymnastics Ireland that they would not be engaging in the process and were seeking legal advice.’
Biles made history by becoming the first black woman to win the all-around title in 2013
Footage of the presentation in Dublin in March 2022 has since gone viral online.
Gymnastics Ireland was contacted by the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation (GEF) last summer, which informed it that it had been contacted regarding the complaint.
‘We remained engaged with the GEF through the autumn and winter months during which time our internal process was suspended,’ said Gymnastics Ireland. ‘In February, we agreed to resume internally and proceed to the next stage of our process.’
Backlash to the video has continued to erupt across the internet.
Olympic silver medallist, USA team member Jordan Chiles, also labelled the incident ‘beyond hurtful on so many levels’.
She indicated that she also wanted to get in touch with the young sports star, asking the gymnastics community to help identify her.
Olympic silver medallist, USA team member Jordan Chiles, also labelled the incident ‘beyond hurtful on so many levels’
After it resurfaced, the clip was slammed by X users as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘hard to watch’.
Biles, who made history by becoming the first black woman to win the all-around title at the 2013 World Championships, has also been a victim of racism in the sport and has been vocal about tackling it.
After she was targeted with a vile racist comment by athlete Carlotta Ferlito, who came third in the contest, Biles spoke out to say that all athletes of colour have shared similar experiences.
‘But you just have to keep going for those little ones looking up to us,’ she said.
‘It doesn’t matter what you look like. You can strive for greatness, and you can be great.’
In her video to the young gymnast, Biles said: ‘I wanted to let you know that I saw how you were treated at your GymStart event recently.
‘I was completely shocked and wanted to let you know that you deserve a medal just like all of the other girls.
‘I know you’ve worked incredibly hard at the sport and I wanted to say I am rooting for you from here. Sending you my very best and know that there are so many of us here to support you.’
Source: Read Full Article