The 2021 Tokyo Olympics games begin in less than two weeks, and in the past month, lots of controversies have been spurting up as the event grows closer. With everything going on with these issues making the news, people have questioned whether black women are welcome at the 2021 Olympics.
FINA, the international federation that governs water sports, denied Soul Cap the certification for these caps to be worn in international competitions. Soul Cap is a Black Owned, British swim brand designed for diverse hairstyles like afros. Even though these caps allow women with hair that traditionally does not fit into swim caps access to caps, they have been banned by Fina because they did not fit "the natural form of the head."
"FINA's recent dismissal could discourage many younger athletes from pursuing the sport as they progress through local, county, and national competitive swimming," wrote Soul Cap on Instagram. "We hoped to further our work for diversity in swimming by having our swim caps certified for competition, so swimmers at any level don't have to choose between the sport they love and their hair."
The banning of this swim cap is a huge step backward for the swimming community, especially when there has been a huge push for more diversity in the sport of swimming. FINA has agreed to reconsider its decision.
Sha'carri Richardson, a huge name in women's running and gold medal hopeful, can no longer compete at the Olympics this summer after a failed drug test for marijuana. The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced that Richardson would be serving a one-month suspension starting June 28th.
Richardson's failed drug test came after learning that her biological mother had passed away, something Richardson found out during an interview at Olympic Trials.
"It sent me into a state of emotional panic," she said, adding, "I didn't know how to control my emotions or deal with my emotions during that time."
Despite everything Richardson has gone through, USA Track and Field has moved forward with bringing the 4th place finisher in the 100 meters to the Olympics.
The discrimination doesn't stop there. Two Namibian teens, Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, were banned from competing in the Olympics due to their natural testosterone levels being too high. Neither teen was aware that their testosterone levels were not in the "typical range" as they had never been tested before.
Testosterone drives red blood cells, and the more red blood cells, the more oxygen gets to the individual's muscles, improving speed and stamina. Barring these two women from competing at the games solely based on how the body naturally produces testosterone is unfair and should not be happening to these athletes.
Along with preventing black women from competing, any form of political expression, especially supporting social movements, is not allowed at the games.
The International Olympic Committee banned any form of political expression, which includes the demonstration of any political, religious, or racial propaganda -- including Black Lives Matter apparel. Some examples of prohibited expressions under these rules are attire with any form of a political message and any gestures that could be seen as political, like kneeling or raising a fist.
This is all under Rule 50 guidelines that were developed by the IOC Athletes commission, with the belief that "it is a fundamental principle that sport is neutral and must be separate from political, religious or any other type of interference."
Overall, as the Olympics grow closer, discrimination in sport rears its ugly head. The Olympics would be wise to reverse their decisions and realize that the true "fundamental principle of sport" is inclusion.