Decision to ban cap used by swimmers with Afro hair from Olympic competition draws ire

The International Swimming Federation rejected a British brand, Soul Cap, saying elite swimmers shouldn't need them.

News 12 Staff

Jul 3, 2021, 2:45 AM

Updated 1,079 days ago

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A decision to ban swimming caps designed for diverse, textured hair at the Olympics is drawing controversy.
The International Swimming Federation rejected a British brand, Soul Cap, saying elite swimmers shouldn't need them.
But some swimmers disagree with the decision.
Annie Keppel Palmer, of Pace University, says she loves to swim, but what she doesn't love is the preparation.
"I have to do a lot of pre-planning before the season even starts, to think about whether my hair is going to fit in a cap or not," Palmer says.
Like most people with Afro-textured hair, a standard cap doesn't fit Palmer. So when the Tokyo Olympics decided to ban caps that fix that problem, she felt outraged.
"I've reached the NCAA, I have won a conference, I have a lot of achievements and I consider myself an elite swimmer," Palmer says.
Palmer believes that the decision to ban larger caps will be a detriment and discourage younger children of color to swim and parents from enrolling them in swimming lessons.
In response to this controversy, the International Swimming Federation put out a statement. It reads in part, "FINA is currently reviewing the situation with regards to "Soul Cap" and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation."
The full statement can be read here.


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