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Simone Biles PHOTOS: Racist Comments Spark Gymnastics Scandal, Carlotta Ferlito Apologizes After Backlash [VIDEO]

By Char Little, EnStars
on Oct 12, 2013 06:33 PM EDT
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  • U.S. gymnast Simone Biles.
  • U.S. gymnast Simone Biles. (Photo : Twitter/Simone Biles)
  •  U.S.A. Gymnastics representative Simone Biles from Spring, Texas.

  • U.S.A. Gymnastics representative Simone Biles from Spring, Texas. (Photo : Twitter/Simone Biles)
  •  U.S.A. Gymnastics representative Simone Biles from Spring, Texas.

  • U.S.A. Gymnastics representative Simone Biles from Spring, Texas. (Photo : Twitter/Simone Biles)
  • Carlotta Ferlito
  • Carlotta Ferlito (Photo : Twitter/Carlotta Ferlito)

Italian gymnast Carlotta Ferlito has apologized via Twitter for her racial comment against Simone Biles, the first Black woman to win the World Championship all-around title.

Ferlito tweeted on Tuesday, "I want to apologize with the American girls. I didn't want to sound rude or racist. I love Simone and I'm a huge fan of USA gymnastics." She added, "I've made a mistake. I'm not perfect... I didn't think about what I was saying. I'm just a human. I'm so so sorry."

Twitter/Carlotta Ferlito
Twitter/Carlotta Ferlito

Her apology comes just days after Biles won the bronze title on the balance beam while Ferlito placed fifth and Vanessa Ferrari, another Italian gymnast, placed fourth during the competition in Belgium Friday.

During a video interview when Ferlito was asked about Biles' win she said, "I told Vane that next time we'll have our skin black also so we can win, too."

A comment that has sparked a scandal in the gymnastic world.

According to Chicago Tribune, a spokesperson for the Italian Gymnastics Federation, David Ciaralli, posted a comment on Facebook to defend Ferlito under the name "Italian Gymnastics Federation, with a picture that linked to the organizations page.

The comment said, "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)...Why aren't there blacks in swimming?" Ciaralli wrote. "Because the sport doesn't suit their physical characteristics. "

He cleared up his comments with Chicago Tribune and said, "Possibly in saying this, I made a mistake, and I am sorry. What I said was my thoughts, not the official thoughts of the federation. I know Carlotta. She is not racist. It was just a stupid answer, and she was joking. Ferlito began laughing after referring to her need for black skin.We had no intention of offending the United States, its gymnasts or black gymnasts."

USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny was upset by both of the comments and called out Ferlito and the Italian Gymnastics Federation for their statement.

"USA Gymnastics is disappointed by the recent comments made by Carlotta Ferlito and apparently by the Italian Gymnastics Federation. 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."

Biles' parents, Ron and Nellie, spoke out about the racial comments and said "it was out of line."

Ron told USA Today in an article publised Wednesday, "I found it very insulting."

Nellie revealed her daughters reaction and said, "It did bother her. 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.'"

Last year, 16 year-old Gabby Douglas became the first Black woman to win the Olympic all-around gold medal.


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