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. 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)
ROME (AP) - The Italian gymnastics federation has issued a statement condemning racism after offensive comments by one of its athletes.
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 later said, with a laugh, that she told Ferrari: "Next time we'll have our skin black also so we can win, too."
On Thursday, Italian federation president Riccardo Agabio said he condemns "every form of racism and discrimination." He added that he hopes this matter won't hurt the friendly relationship between the federations. Ferlito apologized on Twitter on Tuesday.
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.