Imagine being a young, female gymnast competing on the United States’ Gymnastics team. That, in itself, is an amazing achievement. Now, imagine traveling with your team to compete in the World Championships in Belgium where you WIN the all-around title; a rare and prestigious honor! All that training and time invested begins to pay off in a major way. So, you’ve gotten this far and not only do you win, but you are the FIRST black, female gymnast to achieve this victory. Who could take that away from you? Who could step in and steal some of that spotlight that you have so graciously earned? To even have to think that ANYONE could ruin such a proud moment for not just the black community, but for gymnasts all over, is a hard concept to grasp.
Young gymnast Simone Biles achieved exactly what was described above and without any hesitation, that moment of ultimate success was ripped from her when a racial slur was thrown her way. Following the victory, a member of the Italian team, Carlotta Ferlito, said in an interview (according to Yahoo! Sports), “I told (teammate Vanessa Ferrari) that next time we should also paint our skin black so that we can win, too.” Can you believe that?! Not only is it disgusting, but once again, it is the constant reminder that skin is still being looked at all around the world and racism is still very much alive!
Of course, the US had Simone’s back and said:
The United States is proud of its athletes and the success the achieved at our recent World Championships, especially Simone…USA Gymnastics is disappointed by the recent comments made by Carlotta Ferlito…Gymnastics is a global and inclusive sport with talented athletes, and there is no place for racial insensitivity.
Congrats, Simone! Keep your head up and continue to shine…this is just the beginning and the more successful you are, the more you will learn some of life’s toughest lessons. But, don’t let that stop you from being simply great!