Gymnastics Ireland has come under fire following accusations of racism after a video of a medal ceremony went viral on social media.
The video being circulated on social media sites such as TikTok, Instagram and X (formerly known as Twitter), shows a medal ceremony at a gymnastics event in which a member of staff is handing out medals to a group of girls, and does not present the only Black child there with a medal.
The incident took place at a Gymstart event in Dublin in March of 2022.
Gymnastics Ireland released an apology, which in part reads: “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.
“We would like to make it absolutely clear that Gymnastics Ireland condemns any form of racism whatsoever… we are committed to ensuring nothing like this will happen again,” continued the statement.
The organisation has received backlash due to the apology being released over a year after the incident took place.
A spokesperson for the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media said to SIN that the Department found it “unfortunate that this process took so long. The child was badly let down, and it is right and proper that Gymnastics Ireland have issued an apology.
“SARI (Sports Against Racism Ireland) contacted the Department shortly after this incident happened last year. The Department immediately contacted Sport Ireland, requesting them to contact Gymnastics Ireland and request that they investigate the incident,” they continued.
The spokesperson went on to describe that the child’s family and Gymnastics Ireland were involved in a mediation process: “The mediation process was conducted by Sports Dispute Solutions Ireland, a not-for-profit dispute resolution service for Irish Sport offering mediation and arbitration… the Department had no role in relation to this process.”
Seven-time Olympic medallist gymnast, Simone Biles said on social networking site, X: “It broke my heart to see… there is no room for racism in any sport or at all.” Biles went on to describe how she sent the child a “little video” to show her support.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the BBC that it was a “real shame” that it took Gymnastics Ireland such an extensive period to comment on the incident, but he is “glad that they finally have” addressed the issue publicly.