• Fri, Oct 11 - 2:30 pm ET

Racist Gymnast: We Should Wear Blackface To Beat USA

simone biles

When the first-ever black woman wins a big competition, it’s normally considered a good thing, but some racists will always come out of the fucking woodwork to say that she won just because she was black. At last week’s Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, American Simone Biles won the whole damn thing, taking the women’s all-around medal and three others. All in all, the U.S. women’s team did very well, with Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Kyla Ross taking a total of 8 medals between them.

The Italian team only took one medal,  a silver for floorwork for gymnast Vanessa Ferrari, and one team member seems to think it was because they just weren’t wearing enough blackface.

“Next time we’ll have our skin black also so we can win, too,” said Italian gymnast Carlotta Ferlito. To clarify: One black woman won four medals and seven non-black women won 11 medals. So clearly Italy didn’t do better because gymnastics is prejudiced against non-black women. The solution is obviously full-body blackface.

That was a super racist thing to say, and apparently racist gymnast Ferlito realized she’d angered some Anglophones, because she normally Tweets in Italian, but on Tuesday posted two “apology” tweets in English.

“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 said.

“I’ve made a mistake, I’m not perfect, I was too nervous and didn’t think about what I was saying. I’m just a human. I’m so so sorry,” she added later.

Honestly, we’re not buying it. These sound like the apologies of someone who is sorry they got caught and now is feeling victimized by the fact that her racism pissed people off. “I’m not perfect. I’m just a human.” Yeah, a human that says racist shit on TV.

Insanely, the grown-ups behind her tried to help Carlotta Ferlito’s nonapology campaign and just made it worse.

Italian Gymnastics Federation president David Ciaralli went on Facebook to say:

Carlotta was referring to a trend in gymnastics at the moment, which is going towards a  technique that opens up new chances to athletes of color(well-known for power)

Ciaralli apparently considers the older and “more artistic” Eastern European style of gymnastics to be more elegant and less about strength.

“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?”

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Ciaralli went on to say that he knows Ferlito and thus knows that she is not racist. He also probably thinks he is not racist, because he appears to have confused “not being racist” with “being racist.”

USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny said he was disappointed by Ferlito’s comments, and he would very much like the Italian Gymnastics Federation president to clarify WTF he meant by those comments.

“USA Gymnastics is disappointed by the recent comments made by Carlotta Ferlito and apparently by the Italian Gymnastics Federation,” Penny said. “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.”

Via Jezebel/Photos: Getty/Giphy

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  • Tania

    I cringed.

  • Jessica

    Yikes. The comment by the young gymnast was awful, but I give it at least a 50% chance of being mostly sour grapes from being disappointed in her performance vs. an outright declaration that there is a conspiracy against white gymnasts. The follow up comment made by Italian Gymnastics Federation president David Ciaralli regarding blacks in swimming was just an absolute disgrace. For his information, the low level of participation of blacks in swimming (in the USA at least) has NOTHING to do with their physical characteristics and EVERYTHING to do with lack of access adequate instruction and to safe facilities, not only for competition but for the basic life saving skill of knowing how to swim. Research has shown that over 70% of black and Hispanic children in our county do not know how to swim (and neither do their parents). Cullen Jones, an African-American Gold Medalist Olympian, former world record holder and one of the most successful swimmers in the history of the sport, was a survivor of a near drowning, and now as an adult he is using his knowledge and popularity to promote water safety as a founding member of the Make a Splash Tour sponsored by USA swimming. So as this program takes off and more and more children are exposed to the sport, I bet Ciaralli is going to need to eat his words more times than he eats pasta with dinner.

  • raytheist

    People do blurt out nasty crap in a fit of pique. But they don’t usually blurt out what isn’t already hiding inside. She could have said, “We need more stars and stripes on our uniforms”. I don’t recall hearing much racism expressed when Dominique Dawes won an Olympic medal.

  • Jeff

    If you’ve read anything about Italian soccer, the countries has some real issues with blacks and race in general. This article is extremely long but it portray’s the racist element of Italy http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/9338962/
    Everyone says that America has so many issues with race, but it’s nothing compared to Europe.

  • Poetre

    At least the stupidity is out in the open now.

  • nana1974

    u have to be carefully with that,now they start racismus propagande so that black and white start to fight….so it start between Muslims and Christians,do not give that chance!