Simone Biles Backs African-American Gymnast Denied Medal in Racism Row

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Simone Biles, the esteemed holder of 25 World Championship medals and four Olympic golds, has vehemently declared that “there is no room for racism in any sport.” The revered gymnast’s statement follows the surfacing of a video on social media showing an African-American child being denied a medal during an award ceremony at a Gymstart event in Dublin, in March 2022.

The recorded incident sparked an online uproar, drawing massive criticism after being viewed millions of times. Biles, moved by the incident, expressed her heartbreak at it.

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In response, Gymnastics Ireland immediately initiated an investigation, following a formal complaint lodged by the girl’s parents accusing the event of racist behavior. It led to independent mediation, concluding with a resolution mutually agreed by both parties in August 2023. The investigating bodies cited an “honest error” by the official involved, prompting a written apology from them. Subsequently, the young gymnast received her deserved medal post the ceremony.

Despite the defensive efforts of Gymnastics Ireland, the parents’ pursuit for justice continued. According to the Irish Independent, the girl’s mother expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of a public apology. Furthermore, she expressed concerns about potential racial harassment against her family and appealed to have the troubling video taken off social media platforms.

The girl’s family believes her daughter was singled out due to her race in a predominantly white event, making the incident deeply upsetting. According to the mother, “We are often the only black family at gymnastics events, and this has been very hurtful for us.”

Meanwhile, the compassionate Simone Biles extended her support to the young girl last year through a video message.

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