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Parents of Young Black Gymnast Snubbed at Medal Ceremony Slam 'Useless Apology'

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Source: BBC NEWS

The parents of a gymnast who was snubbed during a medal ceremony speak out.

Sep. 29 2023, Published 7:15 p.m. ET

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The parents of a 10-year-old Black gymnast slammed the "useless apology" from Gymnastics Ireland over a viral video that sparked accusations of racism, has learned.

The gymnast's mother and father condemned the sports body for issuing the apology 18 months after the heartbreaking incident.

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Source: BBC NEWS

The gymnast's mother said there was 'no excuse' for what happened to her daughter.

While the incident took place at a March 2022 competition in Dublin, a video from the medal ceremony recently went viral, prompting accusations of racism against Gymnastics Ireland.

In the footage, a group of young gymnasts patiently stood in a line as they waited for the official, a white woman, to hand out medals. As the white official moved in a systematic fashion down the line, draping the red ribbon around each athlete's neck, she briefly paused when she reached the Black gymnast.

In a stunning move, the official skipped the child and proceeded to hand out the next medal to another gymnast.

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Source: BBC NEWS

The gymnast's mother said her daughter was the only Black gymnast at the competition and 'stood out.'

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On Monday, Gymnastics Ireland issued a severely delayed statement apologizing "for the upset that has been caused." The organization vowed to ensure "nothing like this will happen again" while condemning "any form of racism."

The child's parents said the apology was "useless" due to the fact that "it's been well over a year" since the incident took place.

"It is painful to actually state the obvious — my daughter was the only black child in that competition, she stood out well," the mother told the BBC. "There was no excuse for what happened. She felt very upset about what happened."

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The mother added that "it was almost as though they blamed her for being black" while noting, "It's something very uncomfortable for a ten-year-old to go through."

"'We kind of told her, regardless of your skin color, people shouldn't treat you differently," the mother added.

The gymnast's father accused Gymnastics Ireland of trying to "cover-up" the official's appalling actions.

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Source: BBC NEWS

The mother said her 10-year-old daughter was 'very upset' over the heartbreaking snub.

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"They tried to cover up like it didn't happen. They probably thought that with time [we'd] forget about it," the father said. "It was painful. You have to beg for an apology."

The mother echoed her husband's comment and claimed the organization "only sent us an apology because the world wanted them to, because we cried for so long."

The mother said she emailed Gymnastics Ireland one day after her daughter was snubbed at the event. After 12 months of silence from the sports body, the parents received a short letter from the judge at the competition.



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