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First Great Black Olympic Swimmer Wants Swimwear to Accept Black Hair

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David Davies – Pa Images / PA Images via Getty Images

Alice Dearing, the first Black Olympic swimmer in the UK, wants organizers of the next Games to adopt swim hats that allow black hair to look good.

Beloved is one of four black people who founded the Black Swim Association in the UK, which aims to make swimming more accessible to people of minority backgrounds. tells the BBC in 2019 that they understand why black swimmers are losing their hair.

One of the barriers that many black women face is the swimming process in maintaining the health of their natural hair. Many swimwear hats are so small that they cannot be compared with protective styles such as weaving and space.

“It sounds silly, but it can damage your self-esteem and self-esteem because chlorine damages hair,” Dearing told the BBC, “but it’s especially difficult for girls with long hair, which most black girls have.”

The International Swimming Federation (FINA) has rejected a proposal by Soul Cap, which makes black-haired swimwear hats, to allow Olympic athletes to wear their helmets at competitions. FINA he said hats are not appropriate because they do not follow the “natural shape of the head.”

Following the spread and gathering of people online, FINA reached out to Soul Cap to apologize and assist them in their application for admission to international competitions, including the following Olympic Games.

Dearing told BuzzFeed News that he hopes black hats will be approved.

He said: “I am very happy. “I think this could go further and be used in international competitions. I really believe that.

“I know a lot of people want to be on the right side of history with this. That’s why I hope there have been positive results since then.”

Dearing said more organizations need to be trained and are happy to be listening.

“It’s not just a matter of being left out,” he said. “I’m not saying that any organization could do this on purpose, but many years ago it wouldn’t have been so common, it wouldn’t have been seen and recognized.”

Dearing said he learned to swim at the age of 5, entering competitive swimming at the age of 8 after his mother saw a swim club business.

Photos of Morgan Harlow / Getty

Dearing and his brother studied swimming together and said watching the competition was a family affair.

“We were taking pictures of them, looking at them again, like, it was like the right family for me, my mother is one of my relatives,” he said.

Running for several years and Dearing himself swam in the competition and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. Although he came in 19th place, taking part is still history as the first Black swimmer of Team Great Britain.

Dearing also founded the Black Swimming Association, which aims to promote and differentiate swimmers in the UK. Dearing said he wanted to get the game back because it had given him so many good things in his life.

“I want other people to know that the opportunity is there for them, not to be like a dove because of their race or because people think that’s what they should do,” Dearing said.

Love has become a pattern for many. He said it was not something he thought he could be and said it was surreal. “It’s like, I’m a girl from Birmingham, a girl from the Midlands in England,” she said. “So it’s crazy. You don’t think you have the opportunity to help or encourage or change a person’s life in such a positive way.”

Although Dearing is one of the few black swimmers known worldwide, he said that Swimming was not always the only white swimmer.

As he grew older, he began to hear whispers from people saying that blacks do not swim, and people seemed surprised to swim.

“We always laughed because my mother, my mother from Ghana for the first time, grew up swimming and it was a part of their lives,” Dearing said. “This is not just a joke if it really affects people’s lives and affects the decisions they make every day. That is why I enjoy it so much. ”

Dearing said that although he is not very happy with the way the Olympics are run, he has been receiving helpful messages.

“Basically everyone is like, you’ve done well to get to the beginning, you’ve done well to stand up, and have this conversation to be part of something bigger than yourself and encourage change,” he said.

Dear is one of the athletes participating in Procter & Gamble’s Athletes for Good Fund, which gives athletes $ 52,000 in local trials.

He said: “It has become so commonplace, as so many strangers send me messages, so much so that I am unable to answer them. But you know, I can see that all these people are very supportive and encouraging. And it’s a feeling I’ll never forget, honestly, it’s so powerful. I am so grateful that people took the time to help me. ”

Dearing said he did not get a chance to see any competition while the Olympics were in the UK, but he is happy with the Paris Games because they are so close to home.

“Obviously, I’m just annoyed and I didn’t appreciate that London 2012 when it was there, but having the kind of second chance with Paris … a chance to compete as a runner there.”

Photos of Clive Rose / Getty

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