Simone Biles, 26, spoke out against Gymnastics Ireland after a viral video showed a young Black gymnast being skipped over during a medal ceremony when her white peers were given an award after a recent competition. The Olympic champion took to the comments section of the video, which was originally taken in March but posted on Twitter on September 22, and revealed that she sent her own supportive video to the gymnast while also expressing her disappointment about the shocking moment.
“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’s comment read.
Shortly after the video received a lot of backlash and the parents of the gymnast said she was snubbed due to racism, Gymnastics Ireland publicly apologized through a statement on their website. In the statement, they claimed the issue had been settled in August, but the young girl’s mother has denied this, and claimed the family hadn’t received a genuine apology, according to Irish Independent.
“We are aware of a video that has been posted on social media relating to an incident that took place over 18 months ago at a GymSTART event in March 2022 for which we received a complaint from the parents of one of our members,” the statement read. “Subsequently both parties agreed to enter mediation which was independently facilitated by Sports Disputes Solutions Ireland as per our policy/procedure which led to a resolution agreed by both parties in August 2023.”
The website also gave background information, which claimed that “the official” involved in the incident “expressed deep regret for what they described as an honest error and requested the opportunity to apologise in person to the competitor and her family,” but the “request was initially declined.” Gymnastics Ireland also claimed that a “written apology” was “provided by the identified individual” and “has since been issued to the competitor and her family.”
“Initially we attempted to address the matter through the informal process of our discipline and complaints policy,” they also wrote. “However, following a series of communications with the parents they informed Gymnastics Ireland that they would not be engaging in the process and were seeking legal advice.”
In addition to Simone and other online users’ complaints, U.S. gymnast Jordan Chiles called the incident “beyond hurtful on so many levels.”