Video of Black girl skipped during medal ceremony accumulates outrage online--and now they apologize
A year too late is never great when racism is involved
By Black Headline News
Online viewers have been mass circulating a video on social media that depicts a young Black gymnast standing in line with other White gymnasts waiting to get a medal after a competition in Dublin, Ireland last year--all of the young girl gymnasts received a medal except for the Black girl, who also looks shocked and surprised in the video. The gymnastic event took place in March of 2022, but the video is spreading online now with comments of distaste for the appalling incident.
Medal winner, Simone Biles, stated in a tweet, “ When this video was circulating, her parents reached out. It broke my heart to see, so I sent her a little video there is no room for racism in any sport or at all !!!!" Prior to this tweet, Biles had reached out to the family and the young girl to offer emotional support.
Other online viewers also chimed in, concerned that this is still happening in the sports world.
"This is racism," said Jay in a tweet. "She is obviously skipped for no reason This is not okay and not how you represent yourself as a person.
"It sure seems that way," responded Ed Krassenstein back to Jay. "I find it hard to believe that you just walk by her, give out all the medals, realize you have one extra and still don't try and figure out why."
Kat Fu said in a tweet, “I feel for the little girl, you could totally tell she was expecting it and was left disappointed then confused This doesn't look good at all.... Have they made an inquiry into this situation? It wouldn't have been that they were missing her medal as she would have stopped and explained it to her.”
According to The Guardian, the governing body over such national, gymnastic competitions, Gymnastics Ireland (GI), the officials originally declined to get involved, feeling that the issue had nothing to do with them. GI representatives would not attend mediation, effectively casting the incident from March 2022 as a purely personal dispute between the family and one woman, the gymnast’s family said.
Due to the pressure of the international outrage, GI finally decided to make a public apology this year for last year's incident on September 22, 2023:
On behalf of the Board and staff of Gymnastics Ireland we would like to unreservedly apologise to the gymnast and her family for the upset that has been caused by the incident at the GymStart event in March 2022. What happened on the day should not have happened and for that we are deeply sorry.
We are also sorry that what has happened since that date has caused further upset.
Please know that at all times we have been acting in good faith and with the best of intentions in trying to resolve this very difficult and sensitive matter. We offered an in-person apology after the incident as we believed this was the best approach. Subsequently we felt mediation was the best way forward.
We know now we need to do more. We are committed to ensuring nothing like this will happen again. We appointed an independent expert to review our policies and procedures earlier this year and a series of recommendations have resulted which we are fully committed to implementing so that this does not ever happen again.
We would also like to engage with the gymnast's family and Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) to listen to any suggestions they have as to how our procedures can be improved in this regard.
We are happy to see that the gymnast continues to participate in Gymnastics Ireland events and we look forward to welcoming her back to our future events also.
Finally, we would like to make it absolutely clear that Gymnastics Ireland condemns any form of racism whatsoever.
The Guardian also stated that the family is afraid of being identified and targeted for racists comments and attacks; they felt the apology came a year too late.