Gold medallist Simone Biles of the U.S. competes to win the floor exercise during the apparatus final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)
ROME (AP) – The head of Italy’s gymnastics federation Thursday condemned “every form of racism and discrimination” following offensive comments by one of the country’s gymnasts. The president of USA Gymnastics considers the matter closed.
Italians Vanessa Ferrari and Carlotta Ferlito finished fourth and fifth on the balance beam Sunday at the world championships in Belgium, just behind bronze medalist Simone Biles of the U.S. Ferlito said, with a laugh, that she told Ferrari: “Next time we’ll have our skin black also so we can win, too.”
Italy’s Carlotta Ferlito competes on the balance beam during an all-around final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
IOn Thursday, Italian federation President Riccardo Agabio said in a statement he hopes this episode won’t hurt the friendly relationship between the federations. Ferlito apologized on Twitter on Tuesday.
USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny said he’d been in contact with Agabio and Biles’ family, and “we consider the matter is behind us.”
Biles also won the all-around title, the first black gymnast to become world champion. At last year’s London Games, Gabby Douglas became the first black woman to win the Olympic all-around.
Silver medallist Italy’s Vanessa Ferrari competes on the floor exercise during the apparatus final at the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. The 44th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp concludes on Sunday with both men and women competing in individual apparatus finals. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe)