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Italian gymnastics fed condemns racism after spat

11 October 2013, 13:36

Rome - The Italian gymnastics federation has issued a statement condemning racism after offensive comments made by one of its athletes.

The issue began after Vanessa Ferrari and teammate Carlotta Ferlito finished fourth and fifth on the balance beam Sunday at the world championships in Antwerp, Belgium - just behind bronze medalist Simone Biles, who is African-American.

Ferlito later said, with a laugh, that she told Ferrari: "Next time we'll have our skin black also so we can win, too."

Biles won the all-around title earlier in the week, 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 title.

Ferlito apologized via Twitter on Tuesday, but comments posted on the Italian gymnastic federation's website by its spokesman also were seen as racially charged.

USA Gymnastics asked the Italian federation for an explanation.

A statement released Thursday from federation president Riccardo Agabio condemns "every form of racism and discrimination," adding that the incident will not affect the friendly relationship with the U.S. federation.

- AP

Tags athletics

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