Black girl ignored at medal ceremony, Gymnastics Ireland apologises after uproartext_fields
Gymnastics Ireland, the country's gymnastics governing body recently came under fire for a racism controversy that emerged after a viral video showed a young black girl, who was competing, being ignored during a medal ceremony, while her white counterparts received awards.
The incident, which occurred in March last year, caused a significant uproar.
The video shows young gymnasts lining up to receive their awards. While all of them received theirs, the black girl was visibly overlooked.
Despite Gymnastics Ireland's claim that they had resolved the issue last year, the girl's mother said that they had not received a genuine apology, and the family remained deeply upset.
According to the Irish Independent, the family believed their daughter had been overlooked solely because of her race.
The video revealed that the person giving away the awards walked away with the remaining medal.
The woman chose not to renew her membership and is not a member of the sporting body anymore.
The incident garnered attention from Olympic champion Simone Biles, who expressed her heartbreak over the situation. She reached out to the young girl and conveyed her support, emphasizing that racism has no place in sports or anywhere else.
“When this video was circulating, her parents reached out. It broke my heart to see, so I sent her a little video,” Simone wrote on X. “there is no room for racism in any sport or at all !!!!”, she wrote.
The Irish Independent, who spoke to the girl's mother, said that Simone said in the video she sent the girl, “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,” the tour-time Olympic gold medalist added. “Sending you my very best and know that there are so many of us here to support you.”
In response to the resurfaced video and the public outcry, Gymnastics Ireland issued an apology.
“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,” it said in a statement. “What happened on the day should not have happened and for that, we are deeply sorry.”
“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,” it continued.
The sporting body added, “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,” reports The Hindustan Times.
“Finally, we would like to make it absolutely clear that Gymnastics Ireland condemns any form of racism whatsoever,” it concluded.