FINA Denies Black-Owned Brand of Swimming Caps From Competitive Use in Olympics

By: Alyssa Wilson

Swimming caps designed by a Black-owned brand to protect natural Black hair will not be allowed at the Olympics. UK-based company Soul Cap, which partnered with the first Black woman, Alice Dearing, to represent Great Britain in the Olympics, has been rejected by the International Swimming Federation also known as FINA.  

RELATED: Black softball player ‘humiliated’ after being forced to cut hair at game  

According to The Guardian, the body said the caps did not fit “the natural form of the head,” and to their best knowledge, the athletes competing at the international events never used or required “caps of such size and configuration.”  

Danielle Obe, a founding member of the Black Swimming Association, said the decision is “not what inclusion is about” and that it conflicts with the message of diversity. “At the highest level, we’re then hearing that, ‘we want the sport to be inclusive and representative, we want to have people of colour in the sport, but we want them to join on our terms’,” she told Sky Sports News 



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Black swimmers can use other brands, but swim caps specifically for natural hair are hard to find. Obe said this creates a sense of exclusion for members of Black and ethnic minority communities. Data reveals only 2% of regular swimmers in Great Britain are Black as 95% of Black adults and 80% of Black children do not swim.  

RELATED: Simone Manuel First Black Female Swimmer To Win Olympic Gold Medal  

The founders of Soul Cap responded on Instagram, saying,”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.”  

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