Great Britain Swimmer, Alice Dearing, hoped to continue partnership with Soul Cap, a swimwear brand that specializes in creating extra-large swimming caps created to protect thick and curly hair, dreadlocks, weaves and braids, during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
The inclusive brand was created in 2017 when co-founders Toks Ahmed and Michael Champman began providing adult swimming lessons. They then met a woman with Afro hair who was noticeably having difficulty with the size of her swim cap. The duo found an untapped industry and soon grew immensely to the point of collaborating with Olympic athletes.
However, the caps were denied from use in Olympic aquatic competitions. According to International Swimming Federation (FINA), which is the governing group over aquatic sports, "elite athletes ‘don’t require caps of such size".
Soul Cap issued a statement via Twitter following the ruling to its supporters saying, "A huge thanks to all who have supported us and our work so far. We don’t see this as a set back, but a chance to open up a dialogue to make a bigger difference in aquatics."
A huge thanks to all who have supported us and our work so far. We don’t see this as a set back, but a chance to open up a dialogue to make a bigger difference in aquatics.— SOUL CAP (@soulcapofficial) June 30, 2021
Michael & Toks#SwimForAll pic.twitter.com/nMiS5cEHXI
After receiving serious backlash, FINA has decided to review their decision. They released a statement saying, “FINA is committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage."
“FINA is currently reviewing the situation with regards to Soul Cap and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation.” they announced Monday.
In the words of Twitter users, "I guess bullying works". Check out a few of the tweets that served as the push for the reconsideration of FINA's seemingly unfair ruling.
Simone can’t do tricks because the others can’t, no large swim caps because the Black gals are swimming and now no muscular women because y’all are mediocre. pic.twitter.com/1yE1II2aDx— The Socially Distant Architect (@nicspalate) July 2, 2021
Sigh people need to understand how systemic racism and anti-blackness is that it goes all the way down to the restriction of swim caps accommodating natural black hairhttps://t.co/lqc5SepDZJ— Irene M. Cho (@irenemcho) July 2, 2021
I would support the olympics but they’re just blatantly anti Black in every sense of the word. It’s not even hidden. The BLM ban, the situation with swim caps being banned by a company that specializes for Black hair, and continuously disqualifying Black women over everyone else.— natalie (@202natt) July 2, 2021
I’m also pissed at the olympics for banning a swim cap made for natural hair. anti-Blackness ruins everything like wtf— alana 🤎 (@alanaauston) July 2, 2021
It's safe to say we are all interested to see what the final verdict of FINA's review will be. What are your thoughts on this matter? Is the organization looking out for the integrity of the Olympics games or is this ruling stemming from an anti-black mentality.
Written by Precious Onukwuli