A former Olympic gymnast changed her floor music just in time to perform her routine at the national championships after several people pointed out her song’s link to the Confederate States.
When Ragan Smith, 17, competed on Friday, the historically tainted song did not play, however footage of her podium rehearsal on Wednesday shows that the gymnast, who was an alternate for the 2016 Olympic team, was originally set to kick off her spirited routine to the sound of a Dixie horn.
The horn plays the first notes of Dixie’s Land, a song that became the rallying anthem of the Confederacy after being played during the 1861 inauguration of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States during the Civil War.
Outcry: US Olympic gymnast Ragan Smith changed her floor music before performing her routine at the P&G Championships on Friday in Anaheim, California (pictured)
Telling her: After footage of Ragan’s rehearsal was published, one person alerted her coach on Twitter to tell her that a song used in the routine had racist roots
Context: Ragan was originally set to open her routine with a Dixie horn, which plays the first notes of Dixie’s Heart, a song that became a Confederate anthem during the Civil War
Protesting: When footage of Ragan’s practice was published, several people took to Twitter to voice their disagreement with the horn being included
A video of Ragan’s podium practice, published on YouTube by USA Gymnastics, clearly features the Dixie horn in the first few seconds of her routine.
It didn’t take long for viewers to react, with some of them tweeting about the problematic sound on Twitter.
One person alerted Ragan’s coach Kim Zmeskal, telling her: ‘Love Ragan’s new FX! Only problem—it has a few bars of “Dixie” a song with problematic, racist roots. Making sure u know.’
Someone else pointed out it was an ‘awful time’ to use the song, while another person deemed the matter a ‘very avoidable issue’.
Changes: Ragan (pictured on Sunday after winning first in the all-around) ended up performing her routine to a slightly different soundtrack, trimmed of the horn
Past: The gymnast was an alternate in the 2016 Olympic team and is pictured with her then-teammates after being selected
Appreciated: Viewers seemed to be satisfied after Ragan (pictured at the Olympic trials in 2016) performed her routine to a modified music
Feedback: Some took to Twitter to express their contentment when they noticed the horn had disappeared from Ragan’s soundtrack
Rejoicing: Viewers were relieved by the decision not to feature the Dixie horn during the P&G Championships routine
Ragan’s team seemed to be listening, as the gymnast performed her routine to another version of the accompanying music, this time trimmed of the horn.
The change appeared to please viewers, with one person tweeting: ‘Good job cutting out Dixie from Ragan’s floor music.’
Ragan finished first in the all-around, winning her first national title on Sunday.
In addition to the song’s historical roots, the Dixie horn has also been featured in more recent years on The Dukes Of Hazzard—first the TV show, then the 2005 movie adaptation with Jessica Simpson.
Both versions include a 1969 Dodge Charger nicknamed General Lee, after the Confederate leader Robert E. Lee.
In both iterations, the car’s roof has a Confederate flag clearly painted across it.
Reference: The Dixie horn has also been featured in more recent years on The Dukes Of Hazzard—first the TV show, then the 2005 movie with Jessica Simpson (pictured)
Imagery: In both versions, the car’s roof has a Confederate flag clearly painted across it (pictured in the 2005 movie)
A statue of General Lee ignited the deadly white supremacist rally that left Heather Heyer, 32, dead earlier this month in Charlottesville.
The City Council was leading efforts to remove the monument, erected in the city in 1924.
Since then, Charlottesville’s mayor has rallied to the side of those who want the statue gone, and other cities across the nation are removing Confederate statues.
This weekend, the University Of Texas in Austin took down four of them, while Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, removed its own Robert E. Lee statue.