Black Women in Sports
Growing up doing gymnastics and martial arts allowed me to apply the confidence and drive I have for improvement nestled within me. As I rebound towards the ceiling from a back handspring each week, my coaches continue to encourage me by reminding me of the power I have. This power exists in every Black female athlete, and the 2021 Olympics have already shown they profit off of it, until any chance to hinder these womens’ God given talents can be implemented. This is currently the case for Sha’Carri Richardson, Christine Mboma, Beatrice Masilingi, and Alice Dearing.
Richardson has gathered attention as her orange hair highlighted her flaming run of 10.86 seconds for the 100m dash during the Olympic trials, pronouncing her as the fastest woman in America. Her road to Tokyo came to a halt as she tested positive for THC, resulting in a 30-day suspension while disqualifying her from the games. The marijuana industry pumps mass amounts of money into states like Oregon, where Richardson ingested the weed after figuring out her biological mother died, from a reporter, in addition to the strains of her mental health from the pressure on her to perform. Richardson took responsibility for her actions, but recreational weed is legal in Oregon. This also would not have impacted Richardson’s performance, but she got disqualified as if steroids were coursing through her veins. Even though there is a chance for her to compete in the 4x100-meter relay, her outstanding trial results are also disqualified. Richardson soon tweeted, “I am human,” and Black female athletes have to remind the world of this after every move they make, especially when leaving people in the dust and marking history.
The humanness of Black female athletes continues to come into question, as Mboma and Masilingi accompany Richardson as record making track stars, but were disqualified due to their naturally higher levels of testosterone. This patternedn of disqualification against Black women brings the following method to make up for it: allowing Mboma and Masilingi to compete in the 100m and 200m races, which do not compare to their usual 400m event. Black women simply cannot be fast without a reason to support it, as the Olympics work strategically in a racist manner to make this evident. To support their holistic approach, the discrimination goes beyond the track and field event.
Dearing has prominent recognition from her swimming, but she is also the first Black female swimmer to represent Britain in Olympic games history. To impede on her thunder, a ban on swim caps designed for natural Black hair was integrated. It supposedly does not fit “the natural form of the head,” according to the Federation for International Competitions in Water Sports, even though standard caps are the epitome of this for Black women. You would think sports organizations would work for the betterment of their athletes from adjusting outdated rules, to accepting swim caps for the diversity of competitors, as it should serve as the least problem when swimming for gold.
Being a Black girl knowing systems still exist and are continuing to be propelled towards my disadvantage is sad to say the least. Sha’Carri Richardson, Christine Mboma, Beatrice Masilingi, and Alice Dearing carry the resiliency to continue inspiring me and fellow Black girls to continue winning, even when the odds lay against them.