If you’re a young black girl, or even a boy, hoping to one day become a top-level swimmer and representing your country in the Olympics, you’re going to have to cut your hair. That’s the ruling by Fédération Internationale De Natation, the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee on soul caps. Soul caps are larger swim caps that are fitted to accommodate afros, dreads and weaves.
Later, the organization said it will take a second look.
“FINA acknowledges the comments and reactions concerning the use of “Soul Cap” swim caps in FINA competition,” the organization said. “FINA is committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for a 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.”
If anything, the cap would give swimmers a competitive disadvantage as it’s not as streamlined as a tight-fitting swim cap.
“There is no restriction on “Soul Cap” swim caps for recreational and teaching purposes. FINA appreciates the efforts of “Soul Cap” and other suppliers to ensure everyone has the chance to enjoy the water. FINA will also speak with the manufacturer of the “Soul Cap” about utilising their products through the FINA Development Centres,” the agency said. “FINA expects to make its consideration of “Soul Cap” and similar products part of wider initiatives aimed at ensuring there are no barriers to participation in swimming, which is both a sport and a vital life skill.”
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