Sports commentators slammed for misgendering ‘non-binary’ Olympic skateboarder competing on women’s team
BBC commentators are under fire for misgendering Alana Smith, the first openly ‘non-binary’ athlete to compete in the Olympics.
“Alana Smith is a great skater, but she’s got no comp results from the last year,” commentator Marc Churchill said.
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“And she could potentially have focused on park. To come out here and Ollie [a skateboarding trick] a course…maybe she’s carrying an injury,” he added.
“It’s getting away from her again. She’s gonna throw it. She certainly isn’t approaching the course gingerly,” said Ed Leigh, the BBC’s snowboarding correspondent.
Fans immediately began blasting the BBC commentators for misgendering the skater, who was knocked out of the women’s semi-finals after failing to score three tricks.
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“[A]lana [S]mith literally had their pronouns on their skateboard, and the BBC commentators still misgendered them, is [it] that hard[?], complained one Twitter user.
“Watching #Tokyo2020 women’s skateboarding on the BBC and hearing the commentators constantly misgender Alana Smith and not use they/them pronouns when it’s literally written on their board is so irritating and disappointing,” complained another.
“BBC commentators are just… determined not to use Alana Smith’s pronouns,” said another.
“To the BBC commentators. Alana Smith has they/them on their skateboard and goes by that. I’m sure it’s not done in malice, but just a note,” complained someone else.
Tim Warwood, who also presents skateboarding coverage for the BBC, came to the defense of his colleagues.
“I’m sure the boys would, of course, apologize to Alana,” he wrote in response to one of the complainers. “I hadn’t seen anything regarding gender, and I’m 100 per cent[sic] sure they hadn’t either. Hence the mistake…If you don’t come across a skater that much, then you rely on information provided to you by the event organizer,” he added.
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Smith made history in 2013, becoming the youngest medalist in X Games history at the age of 12. In 2013, she won a silver medal for the Women’s Park Contest in Barcelona, Spain.