Simone Biles supports black Irish girl after medal snub incident

In recent days, a video from a Gymstart event in Dublin in March 2022 has gone viral on social media, showing a black girl not being given a medal while other children received theirs. Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles, upon seeing the video, expressed her concern about racism in sports, emphasizing that there is no room for such discrimination. The incident drew widespread criticism and prompted Gymnastics Ireland to investigate the matter. According to their statement, a complaint alleging racist behavior was received from the girl’s parents, leading to independent mediation and a resolution reached in August 2023.

As part of the investigation, the official involved expressed regret for what they referred to as an honest error and issued a written apology. Gymnastics Ireland stated that the girl did receive her medal after the ceremony. However, the girl’s mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, expressed her disappointment with the organization’s response. She believes that Gymnastics Ireland has not publicly apologized and has taken the matter to the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation in Switzerland. The mother also expressed concerns about her family becoming targets of racist abuse and requested the removal of the video by social media companies.

The Irish Independent, which reported on the incident, quoted the girl’s mother stating that their family often feels isolated as the only black family at gymnastics events. She emphasized that the incident has been hurtful and that Gymnastics Ireland needs to acknowledge their mistake and offer a public apology. The newspaper also noted that Simone Biles had previously sent a video message to the girl to offer her support.

The widespread attention and criticism generated by this incident have shed light on the importance of addressing racism in sports. It serves as a reminder that no athlete, regardless of their ethnicity, should experience discrimination or unfair treatment. The incident has also brought attention to the need for organizations like Gymnastics Ireland to have clear protocols in place to prevent such incidents and ensure inclusivity and diversity.

In light of this news, it is essential for Gymnastics Ireland to address the concerns raised by the girl’s mother and provide a public apology, acknowledging the mistake and expressing their commitment to anti-racism. It is also crucial for them to take the necessary steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future and to ensure that all athletes, regardless of their background, are treated with respect and equality.

Furthermore, social media companies should review the request made by the girl’s family to remove the video, taking into consideration the potential impact of such content on the well-being and safety of the individuals involved. It is important to balance the principles of free speech and the protection of individuals from harm, particularly in cases where there is a risk of inciting racial abuse or discrimination.

This incident serves as a reminder for society as a whole to continue working towards creating an inclusive and anti-racist environment in all areas, including sports. It highlights the importance of ongoing education, awareness, and accountability to eradicate racism and promote equality.