Italian Gymnast Blasts The 'Trend' Of Successful Black Gymnasts...And It Only Goes Downhill From There
U.S. gymnast Simone Biles was just minding her business and SLAYING at the gymnastics World Championships in Belgium. The remarkably talented gymnast who became U.S. Champion this year in her first senior season won the all-around championship at the World Championships.
Simone happens to be black and if you'll remember another stunningly talented African-American gymnast took the world by storm last summer as Gabby Douglas took the Olympic all-around championship.
Between the two girls, they've got the last two international championship titles--and they're each the first black women to do so at their respective Olympic and World Championship tournaments.
Well it appears those two victories have occurred a little too closely together because it's making one Italian gymnast very uncomfortable.
But Carlotta Ferlito, an 18-year-old Italian who finished 11th, wasn't so impressed with Biles's win. Talking to the Italian media, she said, "I told Vanessa [teammate Vanessa Ferrari] that next time we should also paint our skin black, so then we could win too."
Say what now?!!
Despite the fact that Carlotta couldn't even see the winner's podium because she was so far away from scoring a place on it, she apparently saw fit to use race as an explanation for Simone's victory. Because as you know, black gymnasts have ALWAYS steam-rolled over their white competitors.
Only they haven't. (Shout out to "Magnificent Seven" member Dominique Dawes though--you are the TRUTH!!!)
The Italian gymnastics federation only made it worse. Much worse.
According to Deadspin:
On their Facebook page, spokesperson David Ciaralli posted a note, trying to explain how what Ferlito said wasn't really racist; rather, she was noting a "trend" in women's gymnastics whereby the rules supposedly favor black athletes. He wrote:
"Carlotta was talking about what she thinks is the current gymnastics trend: the Code of Points is opening chances for colored people (known to be more powerful) and penalizing the typical Eastern European elegance, which, when gymnastics was more artistic and less acrobatic, allowed Russia and Romania to dominate the field."
After bringing up that racist oldie but goodie—blacks aren't good swimmers—he ends with this whopper, "Is gymnastics suiting colored features more and more, to the point athletes wish they were black?"
Lord, Jesus there's a fire!!
So just so we're clear: Black gymnasts are all muscles and brute strength--whereas their white competitors bring their lithe "artistry" to the table. Got it.
We'll just ignore that Olympic champion Gabby Douglas appears to be all of 4 feet tall and 80 pounds soaking wet and was one of tiniest--if not THE tiniest--gymnasts on the U.S. team. Clearly she only won because she steam-rolled every other gymnast into the floor with the sheer power of her thighs.
Yep. Sounds about right.
Deadspin's Dvora Meyers provides us with an excellent breakdown of the negative implications that this kind of commentary by the Italian gymnastics federation makes. She also draws an interesting parallel between the "artistry"(white) versus "power"(black) debate and the "mental ability and strategy" (white) versus "strength and natural athleticism" (black) that is prominent in the discussion of athletes (typically male) in other sports like football.
Specifically regarding Gabby and Simone, she notes that while the two reigning gymnastics champions happen to be black--which, let's not forget has literally NEVER EVER happened before--being black is basically the only thing they have in common.
Gabby and Simone have vastly different body types, styles, and strengths and yet they're both winners because they capitalize on their unique assets.
While Simone may bring physical power to the table (among the many weapons in her arsenal), she's far from the only gymnast that's doing so. And--gasp--most of the women that are bringing that power are white!! (We know. You can sit down if that gut punch was too much to take in.)
What do you think about this apparent "trend" of successful "colored people" that the Italian gymnastics federation is losing sleep over, Instincters?
Would the same complaints and comments be made if the discussion surrounded male athletes (or even specifically male gymnasts)??
What's your take?