Four-time U.S. Olympic champion Simone Biles says she is “heartbroken” by a viral video of a black girl being passed over for a medal at a ceremony in Dublin.
The incident occurred in March 2022, but the video re-emerged in recent days and has been watched by millions on social media – drawing widespread criticism.
In the video (below) from the meeting in March 2022, a judge is shown handing out participation medals to a line of young gymnasts, but blatantly ignoring the only black girl.
Neither a photographer, coach or other officials looking on intervene, with an audience of hundreds in the stands.
Multiple Olympic champion Biles, said the incident “broke her heart“.
The US athlete also said that she sent the gymnast a video message after her parents had reached out to her.
“There is no room for racism in any sport or at all,” Biles wrote on social media.
Gymnastics Ireland only posted a statement on its website this morning apologising for the incident.
The governing body has pledged to engage with the gymnast’s family and Sport Against Racism Ireland.
Gymnastics Ireland officials declined to attend mediation seemingly dismissing it as a purely personal dispute between the family and one woman, the gymnast’s family said.
The sport’s national governing body, according to the Guardian newspaper did not make any commitment in public statements to investigate the incident, implement anti-racism policies, or improve protection for athletes of colour.
For 18 months, it did not apologise to the family.
“Its unbelievable that you treat a little girl this way,” her mother told the Guardian. “It’s a systemic problem, because when you [GI] don’t speak out, the message is that you are happy for it to go on.”
Welcome to Ireland where people get away with racism! This little black girl broke my heart. Don’t skip this post without leaving a million heart for her. Make her famous… pic.twitter.com/YYMIP1IALZ
— Mohamad Safa (@mhdksafa) September 22, 2023