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. Boston Marathon finish line web cam available online

    Apr 19, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon finish line Getty Images

    Watch every runner cross the finish line on Monday.

  2. Ryan Hall returns to marathon racing in Boston, by way of Ethiopia

    Apr 19, 2014, 11:41 AM EDT

    Ryan Hall Getty Images

    Two-time Olympian hasn’t run a marathon since the London Games.

  3. Boston Marathon to move forward with traditional spectacle of a finish

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:41 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon

    All eyes will be on a changed Boylston Street on Monday.

  4. Boston Marathon TV, race schedules

    Apr 18, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon finish line Getty Images

    Universal Sports will have live coverage and is on a free preview nationwide.

  5. Boston Marathon men’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Lelisa Desisa AP

    Monday’s race figures to come down to two men.

  6. Boston Marathon women’s preview

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Shalane Flanagan AP

    An American with Massachusetts ties wants to win.

  7. Miracle on Ice hockey player selling his Olympic gold medal

    Apr 17, 2014, 1:59 PM EDT

    Mark Pavelich medal

    Mark Wells previously sold his gold medal, too.

  8. Summer Sanders returns to run Boston Marathon again

    Apr 16, 2014, 6:54 PM EDT

    Summer Sanders

    Olympic swimming champion finished 2013 race before explosions.

  9. Nike, USA Track and Field extend partnership through 2040

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:43 PM EDT

    Ashton Eaton AP

    Deal takes Nike, USATF through next seven Olympics.

  10. Catching up with Bruce Jenner

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:57 PM EDT

    Bruce Jenner Getty Images

    Decathlon champion talks Montreal 1976, Steve Prefontaine and the greatest athlete of all time.

  11. Boston Marathon finish line security visibility increased after backpack incident

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:31 AM EDT

    Boston Marathon AP

    Police commissioner asks spectators not to flock to Boylston Street on Monday.

  12. Oscar Pistorius trial will take break for 2 weeks

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius AP

    Judge will spend break reading 2,000-page court record.

  13. ISU receives South Korea complaint over figure skating judging

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:17 AM EDT

    Yuna Kim Getty Images

    Korea Skating Union is protesting the makeup of judges, not the results.

  14. Boston Marathon tribute, moment of silence held near finish line

    Apr 15, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary AP

    Survivors, first responders, those affected by attack take part in tribute.

  15. Boston sports teams share same #BostonStrong tweet

    Apr 15, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    Boston Strong

    Teams’ tweets sent at same time Tuesday morning.

  16. Usain Bolt talks about foot injury, focus beyond 2014

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt Getty Images

    World’s fastest man might not race again until June.

  17. Can Michael Phelps excel in comeback?

    Apr 15, 2014, 11:28 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps AP

    What is the competition like in Phelps’ potential events?

Featured video

Inside Michael Phelps' comeback