This is why all sports organisations need to root out racism and address subconscious bias at all levels. Footage went viral and olympic champion Simone Biles has spoken out.
Sian Elvin Metro Tuesday 26th September 2023
“Young black gymnast is only child not given medal at ceremony“
Look at that little girl’s face
“A racism row has broken out after footage resurfaced showing the moment a young black girl was missed out during a medal ceremony.
The competitor looks on as all the white girls around her received an award at the end of a GymStart event in Dublin.
She can be seen smiling eagerly, waiting to be presented with the medal at the National Indoor Arena, but the official skips over her and goes straight to the next white girl.
The girl’s mum told the Irish Independent the family were ‘very upset’ at how their daughter had been treated by Gymnastics Ireland, and that they believe the snub was due to racism.
She said: ‘We are often the only black family at gymnastics events and this has been very hurtful for us.
‘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.’
Olympic champion Simone Biles, of Team USA, said what happened ‘broke her heart’ and added on social media: ‘There is no room for racism in any sport or at all!’
In a video sent to the family, she said: ‘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. Sending you my very best and know that there are so many of us here to support you.’
Gymnastics Ireland said it had ‘engaged immediately’ with the parents of the competitor after their complaint.
A statement said: ‘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.'” That is not what that little girl is going to remember, but I’m sure the message from Simone Biles helped. What is needed is an overarching sports regulator, or the DCMS should put all sports organisations on notice – check your policies, check root and branch of your organisation for racism and unconscious bias because if there is a scandal, someone will be expected to take responsibility.