Gymnast's father calls racist comment 'out of line'

Published On: Oct 11 2013 11:39:12 AM EDT
Updated On: Oct 11 2013 02:29:15 PM EDT

John Cheng/USA Gymnastics

The parents of 16-year-old world champion gymnast Simone Biles aren't ready to forgive Italian gymnast Carlotta Ferlito for a racist comment made during last week's competition.

"I found it very insulting," Biles' father, Ron, told USA Today Sports. "The racial comment was really out of line."

Ferlito's comment came after she and fellow Italian gymnast Vanessa Ferrari finished fifth and fourth, respectively, on the balance beam at the world championships in Antwerp, Belgium, on Oct. 6. Biles finished third in the event to take home a bronze medal. Ferlito said with a laugh during a video interview, "I told Vane that next time we'll have our skin black also so we can win, too."

With her all-around victory earlier in the week, Biles had become the first black gymnast to become world champion. The victory came after fellow American Gabby Douglas became the first black woman to win the Olympic all-around title in London in 2012.

Ferlito's comment was met with condemnation on Thursday by Italian federation president Riccardo Agabio, who said in a statement that he deplores "every form of racism and discrimination."

For her part, Ferlito took to Twitter on Tuesday to apologize for her comment.

"I want to apologize with the Americans girls. I didn't want to sound rude or racist. I love Simone and I'm a huge fan of USA gymnastics," Ferlito tweeted. "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."

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