In a heartwarming yet deeply troubling turn of events, Simone Biles, the most decorated gymnast of all time, recently extended her support to a young black gymnast who was a victim of racism during Gymnastics Ireland’s GymStart event in Dublin. The incident, which occurred in March 2022, gained widespread attention only when a video clip of the incident went viral on social media. While Biles’ gesture has been widely applauded, it has also cast a harsh spotlight on Gymnastics Ireland’s delayed apology and the broader issue of racism in sports.
The Viral Video That Shook Social Media
The video from Gymnastics Ireland’s GymStart event showcased a disheartening scene—a young black gymnast being blatantly snubbed while distributing medals to her fellow participants. The girl’s parents had been relentlessly pursuing a formal apology from Gymnastics Ireland for the past 18 months.
This incident, which took place over a year ago, raised questions about the organization’s accountability and response to racial discrimination within its ranks. The delay in addressing the issue left many, including the victim’s family, frustrated and disappointed.
Simone Biles’ Compassionate Response
In the face of this distressing incident, the American civil rights activist Professor Harry Edwards brought the matter to the attention of Simone Biles. As a prominent figure in the gymnastics world and a member of the black community, Biles felt compelled to show her support for the victim and her family.
Biles sent a heartfelt video message to the victim, offering words of encouragement and understanding. In her message, she said, “I wanted to let you know that I saw how you were treated at your GymStart event recently. I was completely shocked. I want you to know that you deserve a medal just like the other girls.”
Her compassionate response garnered widespread praise and admiration from both the gymnastics community and the general public. Biles’ gesture highlighted her commitment to advocating for equality and inclusion in sports.
Alexis Ohanian’s Discontent and Support
Alexis Ohanian, the husband of tennis legend Serena Williams and a prominent figure in the tech industry, took to social media to express his discontent with the Gymnastics Ireland racism incident and its handling. Ohanian applauded Simone Biles for her gesture of support and condemned the delayed apology from Gymnastics Ireland.
In a tweet, Ohanian wrote, “I waited to comment on this because a part of me wanted to believe there was some missing piece of the story that would explain why it looked so wrong. There wasn’t. And this happened ages ago with no apology until this clip went viral. Good on @Simone_Biles.”
Ohanian’s vocal stance on issues of racial discrimination is not new. In 2020, during the George Floyd controversy, he stepped down from the Reddit board and advocated for his seat to be filled by a black candidate. His actions were seen as a demonstration of solidarity with the black community and a commitment to addressing systemic racism.
A History of Pride and Solidarity
The Gymnastics Ireland racism incident and the subsequent outpouring of support from figures like Simone Biles and Alexis Ohanian serve as stark reminders of the ongoing struggle against racism in sports.
Serena Williams, an icon in the world of tennis and the wife of Alexis Ohanian, has also been a vocal advocate for racial equality. In 2020, she publicly expressed her pride in being a black athlete, emphasizing that her identity has played a crucial role in shaping her strength and success in her career.
During an episode of ‘Serena Saturdays,’ Williams stated, “I’ve always been proud of who I am, to be black… I wouldn’t be who I am, I wouldn’t be as strong as I am, I wouldn’t have been able to be as amazing as I have been in my career so far. I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t black.”
These powerful voices in the world of sports continue to inspire change and push for a more inclusive and equitable future for athletes of all backgrounds.
A1: The Gymnastics Ireland racism incident involved a young black gymnast being discriminated against while distributing medals at the GymStart event in Dublin. The incident took place in March 2022 but gained widespread attention when a video clip of the incident went viral on social media.
Q2: How did Simone Biles show her support for the victim of the Gymnastics Ireland racism incident?
A2: Simone Biles sent a video message to the victim in which she offered words of encouragement and expressed shock at how the young gymnast was treated. Biles emphasized that the victim deserved a medal just like the other participants.
Q3: Who is Alexis Ohanian, and why is he known for his advocacy against racism?
A3: Alexis Ohanian is the husband of tennis legend Serena Williams and a prominent figure in the tech industry. He is known for his advocacy against racism, particularly for his decision to step down from the Reddit board during the George Floyd controversy in 2020 to advocate for his seat to be filled by a black candidate as a show of solidarity with the black community.