Skip to content

Italian gymnast apologizes for comment about U.S.’ Simone Biles

Oct 9, 2013, 1:27 PM EDT

Carlotta Ferlito AP

Italian gymnast Carlotta Ferlito apologized via Twitter for a comment after the balance beam final at the World Championships on Sunday.

Ferlito finished fifth on the event. Italian teammate Vanessa Ferrari finished fourth. American Simone Biles won bronze after her initial score was upgraded due to a successful scoring inquiry into her difficulty score. If her score was not changed, Biles would have been fifth and Ferlito and Ferrari moved up on spot.

“I told Vane (Ferrari) that next time we’ll have our skin black also so we can win, too,” Ferlito said with a laugh afterward, according to The Associated Press.

Here’s the apology (translated from Italian) posted on Ferlito’s unverified Twitter account:

source:

Italian gymnastics federation spokesman David Ciaralli also apologized for Facebook comments about the matter, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Ciarali wrote, “Carlotta was referring to a trend in gymnastics at this moment, which is going towards a technique that opens up new chances to athletes of color (well-known for power)” while penalizing the more artistic Eastern European style that allowed Russians and Romanians to dominate the sport for years.

“Why aren’t there blacks in swimming?” Ciaralli wrote.  “Because the sport doesn’t suit their physical characteristics.   Is gymnastics becoming the same thing, to the point of wanting to be colored?”

Ciaralli told the newspaper he wanted to “move the discussion from race to technique.”

“Possibly in saying this, I made a mistake, and I am sorry,” Ciaralli told the newspaper. “What I said was my thoughts, not the official thoughts of the federation.”

“USA Gymnastics is disappointed by the recent comments made by Carlotta Ferlito and apparently by the Italian Gymnastics Federation,” USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said in a statement, according to the newspaper. “Gymnastics is a global and inclusive sport with talented athletes, and there is no place for racial insensitivity. We are contacting the Italian federation for clarification on its comments.”

USA Today spoke to Biles’ parents on Wednesday.

“I found it very insulting,” Biles’ father, Ron, told the newspaper. “The racial comment was really out of line.”

“It did bother her,” Nellie, Simone’s mother, said. “I told her, ‘Don’t get roped into this’ and, ‘Don’t let those comments ruin this moment for you. Just be proud of your performance and outcome.’ People are entitled to their opinion. For her to go into this racism stuff is pointless, and (Simone) is not going to address it.”

U.S. gymnastics wraps up most successful World Championships ever

Latest Posts
  1. Los Angeles 2024 Olympic bid is official

    Sep 1, 2015, 3:53 PM EDT

    Los Angeles 2024 logo

    Budapest, Hamburg, Paris and Rome previously announced bids.

  2. Kerri Walsh Jennings done for season after this week

    Sep 1, 2015, 1:51 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Walsh Jennings and April Ross will have little to no wiggle room in Olympic qualifying next year.

  3. Can Venus Williams qualify for a fifth Olympics?

    Sep 1, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT

    Venus Williams AP

    She could become the second oldest Olympic singles player since the sport returned to the Games in 1988.

  4. Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo scrapped after plagiarism allegations

    Sep 1, 2015, 8:58 AM EDT

    Tokyo 2020 Olympic logo AP

    A competition will be held to pick a new logo.

  5. Top ten storylines from World Track and Field Championships

    Aug 31, 2015, 4:20 PM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Mo Farah AP

    Olympic champions came through and potential future Olympic stars broke out.

  6. Ten best performances from World Track and Field Championships

    Aug 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EDT

    Wayde van Niekerk AP

    One world record and many near marks on the track and in the field.

  7. Ten memorable quotes from World Track and Field Championships

    Aug 31, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT

    Usain Bolt AP

    Kidney failure, a Segway and goat blood.

  8. USOC, Los Angeles agree to 2024 Olympic bid, reports say

    Aug 30, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Coliseum Getty Images

    It can’t become official until later this week.

  9. U.S. finishes World Championships with fewest medals since 2003

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:25 AM EDT

    U.S. 4x400m relay intro

    “I’m going to cut the goat … and drink the blood.”

  10. Ashton Eaton breaks decathlon world record, wins World Championship

    Aug 29, 2015, 11:23 AM EDT

    Ashton Eaton AP

    Eaton was competing in his first decathlon in more than two years and wore a cooling hood.

  11. Kayla Harrison stunned at World Judo Championships

    Aug 28, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Kayla Harrison AP

    “That feeling of wanting to crawl out of your skin.”

  12. Anthony Davis would rather win second Olympic gold than first NBA MVP

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:13 AM EDT

    Anthony Davis Getty Images

    Davis, the second youngest U.S. Olympic basketball player ever in 2012, played the fewest minutes for Team USA at the London Games.

  13. Caitlyn Jenner keeps Olympic gold medal in makeup drawer

    Aug 28, 2015, 11:11 AM EDT

    Caitlyn Jenner AP

    Jenner explains why the medal isn’t displayed.

  14. Aries Merritt wins bronze before kidney transplant; incredible Worlds performances

    Aug 28, 2015, 10:39 AM EDT

    Ashton Eaton AP

    Ashton Eaton clocks a decathlon world record. The third fastest woman ever in the 200m. The U.S. was shut out of the medals in its best event.

  15. Usain Bolt receives gift from Segway cameraman at medal ceremony

    Aug 28, 2015, 7:25 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Tao Song

    A CCTV cameraman presented Bolt with a red bracelet.

  16. Usain Bolt may retire after Rio Olympics

    Aug 27, 2015, 12:22 PM EDT

    Usain Bolt AP

    Bolt previously said he would retire after the 2017 World Championships.

  17. Usain Bolt taken out by Segway (video)

    Aug 27, 2015, 11:53 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Segway

    “The rumor I’m trying to start right now is that Justin Gatlin paid him off.”