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Simone Biles stands up for Black girl who faced racism in a gymnastics ceremony: 'Broke my heart'

She sent a heartfelt video message to the young gymnast, expressing her shock at the unfair treatment and offering words of encouragement and support.

Simone Biles stands up for Black girl who faced racism in a gymnastics ceremony: 'Broke my heart'
Cover Image Source: Simone Biles of Team United States prepares to compete during the Women's Balance Beam Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on August 03, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan—Getty Images | Elsa

Simone Biles is taking a stand for young Black girls everywhere. The gymnast and four-time Olympic gold medalist said it broke her heart to see an official ignore a young Black gymnast while giving medals during a gymnastics ceremony in Dublin. According to PEOPLE, the incident occurred at a GymSTART event in March 2022 when a line of children was awarded medals. As the official walked down the line, every other child received a medal except the Black girl.

Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the Core Hydration Classic at Now Arena on August 05, 2023 in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Image Source: Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the Core Hydration Classic at Now Arena on August 05, 2023, in Hoffman Estates, Illinois—Getty Images | Stacy Revere

Mohamad Safa—who goes by @mhdksafa on Twitter—reposted the viral video which has garnered over 50 million views. Brandon—who goes by @cubbieXbrando on Twitter—commented on this video, "I would love to see [Biles] reach out to this girl if she's able." Biles replied to the comment by saying, “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."



 

The young girl's parents reportedly spoke to The Irish Independent anonymously. According to the outlet, they received a video from Biles, where she began by saying, "I wanted to let you know that I saw how you were treated at your GymStart event recently. I was completely shocked and wanted to let you know that you deserve a medal just like all of the other girls." She continued, "I know you've worked incredibly hard at the sport and I wanted to say I am rooting for you from here. Sending you my very best and know that there are so many of us here to support you."



 

Gymnastics Ireland has since responded to the backlash and said in a statement released on Friday that it had received a complaint of alleged racist behavior from a parent after the event. "The official in question accepted fully that what had happened had not been acceptable but stressed that it had not been intentional," the statement read, according to CNN, adding that a resolution was reached in August of this year. "The official concerned said that upon realizing the mistake, they immediately rectified it and ensured that the competitor concerned was presented with her medal before she left the Field of Play." The official had expressed "deep regret" for what they had described as an "honest error." They had also requested to apologize to the child and her family in person, which had been initially declined.



 

The mother allegedly said that the complaint had not been settled and the apology was not "genuine." She continued, "We are often the only Black family at gymnastics events and this has been very hurtful for us. Now eight million people have seen the video. From Pakistan to Ethiopia they can see this was wrong, but Gymnastics Ireland still can’t accept it and say sorry."



 

Gymnastics Ireland told CNN, "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." They added that the gymnast continues to participate in Gymnastics Ireland events and the organization "look[s] forward to welcoming her back to our future events also."



 

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