HOUSTON - A Houston area gymnast won a world championship title, but a competitors racial remarks about the victory has cast a shadow.
The grueling practices are paying off for 16-year-old Simone Biles. The soft spoken yet powerful girl from Spring became the first African-American to win the all around title at the World Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
"It was really exciting and an honor to go out and represent the United States," said Biles.
However, one of her opponents from Italy sparked controversy with what many are calling racially charged comments aimed at Biles.
In an interview, Italian gymnast Carlotta Ferlito described a conversation she had with her teammate Vanny Ferrari saying, "I told Vanny that next time we should also paint our skin black so then we could win too."
When backlash quickly followed, Ferlito took to Twitter to make amends saying, "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."
In a USA Today article, Biles' mother said about her daughter, "It did bother her. I told her, 'Don't get roped into this' and, 'Don't let those comments ruin this moment for you. Just be proud of your performance and outcome.'"
So back at Bannon Gymnastix where Biles trains, the 16-year-old blocks it all out.
"You just have to stay focused and stay humble," Biles said. "Hard work brings success."
Copyright 2013 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.