• Enya Tierney

BLACK WOMEN ATHLETES THAT SUCCEEDED AGAINST ADVERSITY IN RHYTHMIC/ ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS AND BALLET

The #blacklivesmatter movement is taking over the world with the recent events that happened in the US. The truth is that black people do not have the chances and the means to succeed in many sectors, including artistic disciplines such as rhythmic gymnastics, artistic gymnastics and ballet, to mention a few.


Representation is vital for diversity in any community. A little black girl may dream of being a great gymnast with a beautiful leotard and do tricks with a ribbon, but if she does not see anyone of her race engaged in that word through the media or in her environment she will get discouraged. This perpetuates the problem, with mainly white people on the spotlight and no representations of other races.


However, there is talent out there from all races and nationalities. Here are some of our favourite black athletes. Starting with rhythmic stars Grace Legote and Nastasya Generalova, we will move on to ballet and artistic gymnastics celebrities Michaela DePrince, Misty Copeland and Simone Biles to cover more than one field and show as many talented people in any artistic sport or performing art.


Grace Legote


Legote is Africa's top rhythmic gymnast and she has certainly earned her title. Recruited by her coach Tatiana Lavrentchouk-Vizer at the age of 11 in a summer camp, she didn't know the success that was awaiting her.


At the African Championships she was not only awarded the all-round title, but received 3 gold medals and 1 silver medal in ball, clubs, ribbon and hoop subsequently in 2014, getting satisfactory results on her second continental championship in 2018. She has competed in 5 world championships, her highest placement at the all-round being 55th in Kyiv, Ukraine in 2013.


It's not surprising she was named the 2011 and 2012 Sportswoman of the Year in Klerksdorp, South Africa. She has been an inspiration for her whole continent and she has broken the mould in the world of rhythmic gymnastics in a country with no tradition for the sport.





Nastasya Generalova


Nastasya is a US gymnast and her career highlight include 2019 U.S. clubs bronze medalist;

2018 U.S. ribbon silver medalist and hoop, ball & clubs bronze medalist; 2016 U.S. ball bronze medalist. She is also very well-known for her appearance in the Taylor Swift song "Shake it Off", in America's Got Talent, and Teen Vogue.


The chances are that her mother, a Russian immigrant played a great role involving her in the sport since the rhythmic gymnastics culture is much bigger in Russia than it is in the States.


I really enjoy rhythmic gymnastics, because it is beautiful, elegant, and entertaining. I love doing fascinating tosses and tricks with all the apparatus. It helps me be more focused and disciplined in whatever things I pursue in life.


Besides being an excellent athlete, she is also an engaged person involved in charity. She is actually the Sports Ambassador for Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Special Olympics.






Michaela DePrince


Michaela De Prince is a symbol in the world of ballet. Against all adversity, she went from being a war orphan in Sierra Leone to be one of the stars in the Dutch National Ballet. She was inspired by a ballerina in the cover of a magazine to start taking lessons once she was adopted by an American family.


She had to fight for her place in the world of ballet. Despite her talent, she was told that she couldn't perform as Marie in The Nutcracker because "America's not ready for a black girl ballerina", and a year later, a teacher told her mother that black dancers weren't worth investing money in. She proved those who thought that black girls could not become ballet dancers wrong by competing in important competitions such as the American Grand Prix, graduating the American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York, and then dancing for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the company she worked for before the Dutch National Ballet.


Young and talented, she has a great career ahead of her. She is also the author of the book "Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina". There are no words for her courage and her beautiful style, she is a great example for everyone aspiring to be a professional dancer.







Misty Copeland


Copeland is the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theatre's 75-year history. On her personal website, she narrates her amazing story :



"Rising star Misty Copeland makes history as the first African American Female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. When she discovered ballet, however, Misty was living in a shabby motel room, struggling with her five siblings for a place to sleep on the floor. A true prodigy, she was dancing en pointe within three months of taking her first dance class and performing professionally in just over a year: a feat unheard of for any classical dancer."





Simone Biles


Simone Biles is widely known by the general public. We put this great athlete at the bottom of the article, for this reason, we want readers to see unheard voices first. It is our way to contribute to having many more black women in the world of artistic disciplines or sports.


She needs no introduction. First female gymnast to win three consecutive World all-around titles, most World Championship gold medals won by a female gymnast in history (10), most decorated World Championship American gymnast with 14 total medals are only small fractions of her highlights.


Her difficulty in competitions is outstanding and her technique impeccable. On top of that, her great charisma and charming personality make her a fantastic role model for young people.




260 views
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
  • White YouTube Icon

© 2023 by Fashion Diva. Proudly created with Wix.com