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. USOC collecting data on polluted Rio Olympic water venues

    Jul 30, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT

    AP AP

    A US Sailing official maintained his stance on the Rio water from last year.

  2. Which Miracle on Ice item is the toughest for Jim Craig to sell? (video)

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:31 PM EDT

    Jim Craig AP

    Watch the goalie’s interview on The Dan Patrick Show.

  3. British Athletics clears Mo Farah after investigation

    Jul 30, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Farah was to have “blood data, supplements data, everything surrounding his medical treatment” investigated.

  4. World Swimming Championships broadcast schedule

    Jul 30, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    NBC, NBC Sports Live Extra and Universal Sports will combine for daily coverage.

  5. Almaty or Beijing? IOC set to choose 2022 Winter Olympic host

    Jul 30, 2015, 8:08 AM EDT

    Sochi Olympics Biathlon AP

    Either way, the vote will mark an Olympic first.

  6. Allyson Felix to run 400m at World Championships

    Jul 29, 2015, 6:27 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Felix will be absent from the 200m at Worlds for the first time since 2001.

  7. Simone Biles turns pro

    Jul 29, 2015, 4:49 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Biles won’t be eligible to compete collegiately.

  8. Abby Wambach ‘planning on playing’ in Rio, ‘still need time to decide’

    Jul 29, 2015, 1:53 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    It would be tougher for Wambach to make the Rio Olympic team than the 2015 World Cup team.

  9. Markus Rehm, German amputee long jumper, left off World Championships team

    Jul 29, 2015, 12:19 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Rehm has the best long jump by a German this year, but he may have a competitive advantage.

  10. Inbee Park criticizes Olympic golf qualifying procedures

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    “If you are in the world’s top 50, you should be able to play in the Olympics.”

  11. IOC president: Boston 2024 didn’t deliver on promises to USOC

    Jul 29, 2015, 11:02 AM EDT

    AP AP

    “I gave up following [Boston 2024] because it was pretty confusing.”

  12. Russia basketball says it’s suspended by FIBA

    Jul 29, 2015, 10:28 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Its Olympic qualifying tournament is in less than two months.

  13. Yuna Kim: About 90 percent of my career was hardship

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Watch Kim play badminton with Michelle Kwan.

  14. No decision made on Bode Miller’s status, agent says

    Jul 29, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Miller said June 15 he could ski a partial 2015-16 season, and a report last week cited Miller saying he would take at least one year off.

  15. IOC president confident U.S. will still bid for 2024 Olympics

    Jul 28, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    AP AP

    One city’s mayor is open to discussions.

  16. Jonathan Horton splashes out on American Ninja Warrior (video)

    Jul 28, 2015, 11:54 AM EDT

    Jonathan Horton

    Horton impressively scaled the warped wall, which is about three times his height.

  17. Jessica Ennis-Hill will compete at World Championships

    Jul 28, 2015, 11:17 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The British Olympic heptathlon champion will compete at a global championship for the first time since the London Games.

  18. South Sudan set for Olympic recognition

    Jul 28, 2015, 9:14 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    A South Sudanese marathon runner competed under a different flag at London 2012.