"We are deeply sorry" - Gymnastics Ireland apologise and 'condemns any form of racism' after upsetting video
The resurfaced video gained international attention over the weekend.
Gymnastics Ireland has apologised after a video from last year began circulating online recently showing a young black girl being snubbed at a medal ceremony.
The incident occurred in March 2022 at a Gymstart event in Dublin. In the video, a line of young girls are being handed medals at the ceremony by a judge, who seemingly ignores the only black girl.
The resurfaced video went viral over the weekend, with American Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles responding to it, saying she was left "heartbroken" after viewing it.
? when this video was circulating, her parents reached out. It broke my heart to see, so I sent her a little video ?
there is no room for racism in any sport or at all !!!!
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) September 23, 2023
Gymnastics Ireland apologises after video goes viral
In response to the online backlash, Gymnastics Ireland released a statement on Monday, September 25, to "unreservedly apologise" to the gymnast and her family.
"On behalf of the Board and staff of Gymnastics Ireland we would like to unreservedly apologise 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.
"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.
"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."
Before the apology was provided by Gymnastics Ireland on Monday, the Guardian reported that the sporting body did not make any commitment in public statements to investigate the incident, implement anti-racism policies, or improve protection for athletes of colour and did not apologise to the family for 18 months.
"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."
It was discovered by the girl's mother that the judge had written a "long personal apology" days after the competition, however it was never passed on by the GI official who was liaising with the family.
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