Gymnastics Ireland, “the national governing body for the sport of gymnastics in Ireland,” is being condemned as “racist” after a heart-wrenching video from a March 2022 GymSTART event resurfaced on social media.
In the video, one of the Gymnastics Ireland’s officials can be seen putting the medals around the necks of a line of white girls.
The official appears to pause directly in front of the smiling black gymnast before passing her over and placing another medal on the next girl in the queue.
“You can see she gets all excited and ready to receive her medal, only for the official to move past her and onto the next gymnast,” journalist Ed Krassenstein notes on X. “After handing out the medals, the official had one remaining medal, and still did not go back and give it to this girl.”
Is this racism?
The video below has been circulating, showing a medal ceremony for gymnastics in Ireland.
As you can see, a medal is given to every girl except for the black girl. You can see she gets all excited and ready to receive her medal, only for the official to move… pic.twitter.com/2FwqQETPQ3
— Ed Krassenstein (@EdKrassen) September 24, 2023
Seven-time Olympic medalist, American gymnast Simone Biles, was among the many whose hearts broke for the little girl.
“When this video was circulating, her parents reached out,” she wrote on X. “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!!!!” she added.
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 !!!!
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) September 23, 2023
Gymnastics Ireland, 18 months after the inexcusable incident occurred, issued a cold statement that failed so spectacularly to stick an unstickable landing, they eventually had to turn off the replies.
— Gymnastics Ireland (@GymnasticsIre) September 22, 2023
“We are aware of a video that has been posted on social media relating to an incident that took place over 18 months ago at a GymSTART event in March 2022 for which we received a complaint from the parents of one of our members,” the organization wrote. “Subsequently both parties agreed to enter mediation which was independently facilitated by Sports Disputes Solutions Ireland as per our policy/procedure which led to a resolution agreed by both parties in August 2023.”
“The complaint alleged racist behaviour by one of our officials at the event. On receipt of the email, as per our policy and standard practice in relation to complaints, we investigated the matter. Gymnastics Ireland immediately contacted the family to express concern and reassure them that the matter was being investigated,” the statement continued. “We identified the official concerned and informed the individual in question of the complaint. The official in question 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).”
According to Gymnastics Ireland, the official “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,” they write. “A written apology provided by the identified individual has since been issued to the competitor and her family.”
The carefully worded mea culpa did little to satisfy anyone.
“I don’t know what this is but your statement should have read like: ‘We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination or racism. The person in question is no longer employed by us,'” stated one enraged user on X before the replies were barred.
“How do you unintentionally give out medals to every single person EXCEPT THE ONLY BLACK GIRL STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU??????” demanded another. “Is she invisible? Disgusting.”
“Disgraceful treatment of that child, the damage is already done,” said a third. “How utterly shameful. The adult in question should be replaced, no place for bigoted ‘errors’ in sport, especially where children are involved.”
I don’t know what this is but your statement should have read like:
“We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of discrimination or racism. The person in question is no longer employed by us”
— Ayeesha “Brazen Hussy” Doreen (@AlayeDoreen) September 22, 2023
How do you unintentionally give out medals to every single person EXCEPT THE ONLY BLACK GIRL STANDING IN FRONT OF YOU??????
Is she invisible? Disgusting
— iSiTcRaCk Jeez (@isitcrack_j) September 22, 2023
Disgraceful treatment of that child, the damage is already done. How utterly shameful. The adult in question should be replaced, no place for bigoted “errors” in sport, especially where children are involved.
— Power Ade (@AdedePaor) September 22, 2023
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