Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles has taken a stand against racism in sports following a viral video that showcased a black girl being overlooked during a medal ceremony at an Irish gymnastics event in March 2022. The incident took place at a GymSTART event in Dublin and gained significant attention after the video recently emerged, drawing widespread criticism and sparking a vital conversation about racial discrimination.
Expressing her heartbreak over the incident, Biles emphasized that racism has no place in any sporting event. The Olympic silver medalist, Jordan Chiles, a member of the USA team, also voiced her distress, labeling the incident as deeply hurtful on multiple levels. Chiles expressed her desire to reach out to the young athlete and urged the gymnastics community to help identify her.
Gymnastics Ireland responded to the video on September 22, 2023, acknowledging a complaint they received in March 2022, alleging racist behavior during the event. They disclosed an independent mediation process that led to a resolution agreed upon by both parties in August 2023. The official involved expressed deep regret, terming it an honest error, and issued a written apology. The young girl did receive her medal after the ceremony.
However, the girl’s mother, as reported by the Irish Independent on September 24, expressed dissatisfaction with Gymnastics Ireland’s response, believing that a public apology was warranted. Concerned about potential racist abuse, the family sought to have the video removed by social media platforms and escalated the matter to the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation in Switzerland. They felt that their daughter was ignored due to her race, emphasizing the need for acknowledgment, apology, and actions against racial discrimination in sports.