Following a year-long mediation process, a young black girl whose family claims she was the victim of racial behavior when she was ignored by a Gymnastics Ireland official during a medal ceremony in the National Indoor Arena has received a written apology.
In a recent statement on X, formerly known as Twitter, American gymnastics legend Simone Biles said it “broke my heart” after seeing a video of the young child being passed over at the presentation in Dublin in March 2022.
The young girl, who is from Leinster, can be seen in the video appearing confused and ashamed as the official awards all the other gymnasts who competed in the event with medals.
Last year, the family spoke with the Sunday Independent but declined to have their story covered. The girl’s mother expressed her outrage at the way Gymnastics Ireland treated her daughter today, claiming that they felt their daughter was overlooked at the event because she is black.
Gymnastics Ireland released a statement online after the video went public, claiming that the dispute had been resolved as a result of mediation that ended in August.
But the mother said that this was false.
She stated that they believed Gymnastics Ireland was “covering” for the official because they had not issued a public apology for what had occurred.
She said that the official’s one-line written apology addressed “to whom it may concern” was not a sincere one, and she has brought the issue to the Gymnastics Ethics Foundation in Switzerland.
The mother has contacted garda to express worries that the family may be singled out for racist abuse since the video went viral on Friday. The mother requests assistance from Gymnastics Ireland in pressuring social media platforms to remove the footage.
The mother stated, “We are frequently the only black family at gymnastics events, and this has been incredibly distressing for us. “The video has now been viewed by eight million people. They can see this was wrong from Pakistan to Ethiopia, yet Gymnastics Ireland still won’t accept it and apologize.
Family members discreetly sent four-time Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles the video of the incident. Last year, she sent the girl a private video message expressing her support.
“I wanted to let you know that I saw how you were treated at your GymStart event recently,” Biles stated in the video. I wanted to let you know that you should have received a medal along with the other girls since I was so startled. I wanted to let you know that I am cheering for you from here since I know how hard you have worked to succeed in the sport. I’m sending you my very best, and please know that you have the support of a large group of people here.
The kid reportedly let out “screams and tears” of excitement when she saw Biles’ video of encouragement, according to the family’s supporters.
In response to the YouTube video of the event, Biles blogged yesterday to say that she had “sent her a little video” and that it had “broken her heart” when she first saw it.
Racism has no place in any sport or in society, she declared.
Numerous people have criticized Gymnastics Ireland and Ireland as a nation for allowing the girl to be ignored at the medal ceremony in their online comments on the video.
Gymnastics Ireland announced on its website that it has received a complaint concerning racism regarding the March 2022 GymStart event from the parents of one of its members.
According to the statement, all parties decided to join mediation, which was independently handled by Sports Disputes Solutions Ireland and resulted in a last month resolution that was accepted by both parties.
Gymnastics Ireland claimed that after receiving the complaint, it “immediately contacted the family to express concern and reassure them that the matter was being investigated”.
The statement read, “We identified the official concerned and informed the person in question of the complaint.”
The official in question stated that what transpired was not intentional but acknowledged that it was not appropriate.
“The official in question stated that after realizing the error, they swiftly corrected it and made sure the competitor in question received her medal before she left the field of play.
The official also asked the chance to apologize to the opponent and her family in person and expressed sincere regret for what they called an honest mistake. Initially, this request was turned down.
“The identified individual has since issued a written apology to the competitor and her family,” reads the statement.
Gymnastics Ireland stated that it remained in contact with Sport Ireland, the International Gymnastics Federation, and media sources that had queries about the situation at all times.
According to Gymnastics Ireland, the concerned official elected not to renew her membership with the organization in August 2022 and has not been a member since.
The official had not received a sanction from Gymnastics Ireland (GI), according to the organization, “as a mediated resolution was agreed upon between both parties.”
According to the GI discipline and complaints policy, if independent mediation had not produced a mediated agreement, “we would have been required to move to the next stage of the process, which would have been an internal formal hearing where it would be within the purview of a hearings committee to issue a sanction,” it said.
The girl’s family has been receiving assistance from Ken McCue, who formerly worked with Sports Against Racism in Ireland (Sari).
“Given the child’s age, we have continuously attempted to keep the matter under wraps. The family has suffered a great deal because they worry about receiving racial kickbacks. Due to the shock of the occurrence, members of the crowd demand a public apology from Gymnastics Ireland.