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Italy's Vanessa Ferrari Defends Herself Against Racism Accusation

Vanessa Ferrari took to social media to speak out about accusation of racism made against her.  "⛔BIG FAKE NEWS⛔" wrote the Italia...

Vanessa Ferrari took to social media to speak out about accusation of racism made against her. 

"⛔BIG FAKE NEWS⛔" wrote the Italian gymnast on Instagram "I am attacked with comments and insults for a racist phrase, towards @simonebiles ,that I never said! This was said by a teammate of mine in 2013, and I have nothing to do with it."

"Someone blamed me unfairly and this is shared without first verifying that this is true," continues Ferrari. " I believe that before sharing you should inform yourself, just search on google and it is clear who said this. "

"Those who are sharing this against me should take their own conscience, because they are blaming the wrong person."

"Also the video that is shared shows when I got injured by breaking my Achille's if you share this false information you are no better than the one who said the racist phrase."

At 2013 World championships, Ferrari's teammate Carlotta Ferlito sparked fury with her racist remarks towards then fellow competitor Simone Biles of USA to a reporter.

Carlotta Ferlito

"I told Vanny [Ferrari] that next time we should also paint our skin black, so then we could win too," 

The comment was made after the balance beam final, where Ferlito and Ferrari finished in fourth and fifth place respectively, and where Biles won the bronze medal.

At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Gabby Douglas became the first African American gymnast to win an all around Olympic gold medal. At the following year's World championships, Simone Biles earned the first World all around gold medal for an African American gymnast.

Ferlito later apologized for her comments on Twitter, and she chalked it up to failing to think before she spoke.

"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," tweeted Ferlito.

"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."

The incident resurfaced when drag queen Jasmine Masters posted a video of Ferrari injuring herself while preforming one of the elements Simone has competed, adding "Vanessa Ferrari trying to do the same skill as Simone after saying she only wins cuz she's black" to it and captioning it "LOL".

Screenshot by drogonsdaughter/Twitter

Ferrari commented to the post, that has since been deleted, refuting the accusation.

"I think you are confused, this accusation against me is wrong," wrote the Italian gymnast. "It was not me who said that sentence but a teammate of mine, many years ago - so before you accuse someone, be sure to know why you are accusing the wrong person and this is terrible."

The 30 year old gymnast posted a screenshot of her comment on Twitter, writing "this is a wrong accusation, it wasn't me who said these things.  she was a teammate of mine in 2013 she told a journalist.  if you google you will see that it is not me.  they are accusing me unfairly. Inquire!!!"

At 2017 World floor exercise final, Ferrari tore her Achilles tendon while performing a whip to full twisting double back as result she withdrew from the championships. She returned to competition in 2019.

Tokyo will be Ferrari's fourth Olympic Games. She initially earn a place to Tokyo Games through the individual spot. She later on replaced injured Giorgia Villa on the four member Olympic team.

Ferlito's last major competition was the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Biles will be competing in Tokyo where she is expected to defend all of her four Olympic titles.

Written by Gigi Farid

Header Photo by Ginnastica Artistica Italiana

Photo of Carlotta Ferlito by Silvia Vatteroni

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