Oct 9, 2013, 1:27 PM EDT
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:
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.”
Mar 11, 2014, 1:56 PM EDT
Former University of Minnesota goalie was prepared to quit the sport.
Mar 11, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Crystal globes at stake in final races of the season.
Mar 11, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT
Women train where “a few yellow lamps light up a cavernous, sparsely furnished room.”
Mar 11, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT
Americans’ long winning streak snapped.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:27 AM EDT
Two Olympians and several Olympic sports athletes among 19 nominees.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:11 AM EDT
Double amputee has pleaded not guilty to gun charges.
Mar 11, 2014, 9:22 AM EDT
Olympic gymnast married longtime boyfriend.
Mar 11, 2014, 8:06 AM EDT
Two cases of White House-brewed beer in Canadian hands now.
Mar 11, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT
U.S. still looking for first gold medal.
Mar 10, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT
The 26.2-mile race is April 21.
Mar 10, 2014, 11:08 AM EDT
Hockey Hall of Fame already has Olympic display with Teemu Selanne’s socks.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT
Pathologist details graphic nature of Steenkamp’s bullet wounds.
Mar 10, 2014, 10:14 AM EDT
Two U.S. skiers claim bronze. Two others hospitalized after crashes.
Mar 10, 2014, 6:24 AM EDT
“Kim’s last appearances on ice as a figure skater.”
Mar 10, 2014, 5:15 AM EDT
U.S. Paralympic medalists flown to hospital.
Mar 10, 2014, 1:30 AM EDT
Alpine skiing highlights Monday action from Sochi.
Mar 9, 2014, 1:58 PM EDT
U.S. wins gold and total medal counts for fourth straight World Indoors.
Mar 9, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT
Tyler Walker cartwheeled several times but joked on social media.
Mar 9, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT
Americans put Olympic struggles behind them.
Mar 9, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT
Tatyana McFadden made her Winter Paralympic debut.
- Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals preview 0
- President Obama sends beer to Canadian prime minister to settle Olympic bet 2
- Boston Marathon announces increased security 0
- Oscar Pistorius vomits, cries during autopsy testimony 1
- Yuna Kim to skate in ‘retirement event’ 0
- More U.S. Paralympians crash in Alpine skiing 0
- U.S., Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce star to end World Indoor Championships 0