BACKLASHES at Gymnastics Ireland as video of black girl being skipped during medal ceremony goes viral

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Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles says ‘there is no room for racism in any sport’ after a video went viral on social media of a black girl not being given a medal at an Irish gymnastics event ceremony.

The incident occurred at a GymSTART event in Dublin in March 2022 when a line of children were awarded medals but the black girl did not receive one.

Racism

However, a video of the incident has emerged in recent days and been watched millions of times on social media, drawing criticism.

‘It broke my heart,’ Biles wrote in reaction to the video. She added that she had reached out to the girl.

She added that she had reached out to the girl.

Olympic silver medalist, 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.

On Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in response to the video, Gymnastics Ireland issued a statement saying they received a complaint alleging racist behaviour in March 2022 from the parents of the girl.

It said there was independent mediation leading to a ‘resolution agreed by both parties in August 2023’.

As part of Gymnastics Ireland’s investigation into the incident, the official involved ‘expressed deep regret for what they described as an honest error’.

Apology denied

Gymnastics Ireland said a written apology from the official was issued. It also said the girl did get her medal afterward the ceremony.

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However, the Irish Independent on Sunday, Sept. 24, quoting the girl’s mother, said she believes Gymnastics Ireland has failed to publicly apologise and she has taken the matter to the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation in Switzerland.

The Irish Independent also reported that the mother is concerned the family will be a target for racist abuse and wants the video removed by social media companies.

The newspaper reported that the family believed their daughter was ignored at the ceremony because she was black.

‘Because she was black’

‘We are often the only black family at gymnastics events and this has been very hurtful for us,’ the mother told the newspaper.

‘Now eight million people have seen the video. From Pakistan to Ethiopia they can see this was wrong but Gymnastics Ireland still can’t accept it and say sorry.’

Speaking a year after the 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 claim that the issue had been settled following a mediation that concluded in August but this is denied by the mother.

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Ola Alabi
Ola Moses is a certified writer, He writes technically and creatively. He is the CEO of WORDSWORTH, a house where writing is made easier for all. He is a content creator at EsB TV, since 2019. He is a young man that showcases professionalism in all that he does, he was announced as Child and Green Foundation Person of the Year 2018, one of his many lists of honours.

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