A viral video of a young Black gymnast being skipped over during a medal ceremony as her fellow White competitors received their medals has resurfaced more than a year later, and the girl's mother spoke out after Gymnastics Ireland finally issued an apology.
The incident occurred last March at a Gymnastics Ireland GymSTART event where all competitors who participated were given medals at the close of the event.
The video of the incident recently resurfaced, inciting anger and disgust from viewers who watched how the young gymnast eagerly awaited her medal—as all of the White participants received theirs—and then slowly deflated when that moment never came.
You can watch the clip, below.
The video has garnered the attraction of elite gymnasts Simone Biles and Jordan Chiles and has rapidly spread across the internet over the last week, finally eliciting an apology from Gymnastics Ireland.
In a statement, the organization said:
"On behalf of the Board and staff of Gymnastics Ireland we would like to unreservedly apologize to the gymnast and her family for the upset that has been caused by the incident at the GymStart event in March 2022."
"What happened on the day should not have happened and for that we are deeply sorry. We are also sorry that what has happened since that date has caused further upset."
The statement continued:
"Please know that at all times we have been acting in good faith and with the best of intentions in trying to resolve this very difficult and sensitive matter. We offered an in-person apology after the incident as we believed this was the best approach. Subsequently we felt mediation was the best way forward."
"We know now we need to do more. We are committed to ensuring nothing like this will happen again. We appointed an independent expert to review our policies and procedures earlier this year and a series of recommendations have resulted which we are fully committed to implementing so that this does not ever happen again."
The organization finished the statement by noting they "condemn any form of racism whatsoever."
"We would also like to engage with the gymnast's family and Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI) to listen to any suggestions they have as to how our procedures can be improved in this regard."
"We are happy to see that the gymnast continues to participate in Gymnastics Ireland events and we look forward to welcoming her back to our future events also."
"Finally, we would like to make it absolutely clear that Gymnastics Ireland condemns any form of racism whatsoever."
The family of the snubbed gymnast, however, thinks more should have been done... and much sooner.
The mother of the girl told The Guardian:
“After this horrendous incident, who wouldn’t think they should apologize? They have just sent me a letter this evening."
"It took well over a year, and after millions of people internationally have been disgusted by the incident."
“It is useless to me because they are not addressing the issues of racism and safety."
"I would love to hear them say things like, ‘the next black child who comes into gymnastics will be safe.’ There is nothing like that.”
And people online completely agreed.
Simon Biles chimed in:
"There is no room for racism in any sport or at all!!!!"
And others followed suit.
Many also called for action.
We hope this attention and backlash will alter the future of Gymnastics Ireland and their treatment of competitors, as well as the people they hire.
Sadly, this gymnast will never forget that heartbreaking moment.