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Italian gymnast apologizes for racist comment

ROME (AP) — Italian gymnast Carlotta Ferlito has apologized for making a racist comment aimed at an American rival.

Vanessa Ferrari and teammate Ferlito finished fourth and fifth on the balance beam Sunday at the world championships in Belgium — just behind bronze medalist Simone Biles.

Afterward, Ferlito said with a big laugh, "I told Vane that next time we'll have our skin black also so we can win, too."

On Tuesday, Ferlito tweeted, "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."

She then added, "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."

At last year's London Games, Gabby Douglas became the first black woman to win the Olympic all-around title. Biles became the first black woman to win the world all-around title, having also won gold on floor in Antwerp.

Ferrari also was second to Biles on floor, after which Ferrari dedicated her silver medal to the nearly 300 African migrants killed in a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa last week.

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