Sports commentators Todd Harris and Paul Zitzer from NBC Sports and Marc Churchill and Ed Leigh from the BBC repeatedly misgendered the first non-binary Olympian Alana Smith throughout their commentary.
However, Smith’s pronouns were displayed on their skateboard and a pin on their shirt.
The 20-year-old represented the US in the women’s skateboarding street event on Sunday at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
Alana Smith with They/Them on their board at the Olympics https://t.co/a5FtWqME8g
Regrettably, it appears that this warning was not received by the commentators, as they continued to utilize the wrong pronouns.
The BBC hasn’t commented on the situation, but fellow BBC sports reporter Tim Warwood tweeted a response, believing that it was “a mistake,” and Churchill and Leigh would “apologise” if they had known.
@SadBuoys It wasn’t myself commentating. I’m sure the boys would of course apologise to Alana. I hadn’t seen anythi… https://t.co/LMsOpf5cOp
According to Out.com, NBC Sports released an official apology that said: “While our commentators used the correct pronouns in our coverage, we streamed an international feed that was not produced by NBCUniversal which misgendered Olympian Alana Smith. We regret this error and apologize to Alana and our viewers.”
Speaking to USA Skateboarding, Smith noted that they wanted to be recognized as a “good skater” and that they “made a difference”.
“Gender shouldn’t matter,” they added.
Ultimately, although there were high expectations to earn a medal at their first Olympics game, Smith didn’t qualify for the medal round.
They missed four of five landings in their two attempts, leading to scores of 1.25 in their final heats compared to Funa Nakayama, who won with scores of 15.77.
Despite this, it’s evident that Smith will continue making history as they continue their journey of growth and acceptance that inspires the masses.