World

Olympic announcer apologises for comments about gymnast's parents

Picture of Simone Biles Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Simone Biles, 19, is the first African America woman to be world all-round champion and the first woman to win three consecutive world all-round titles.

An Olympics commentator has been criticised after suggesting US gymnast Simone Biles's adoptive mother and father were not really her parents.

NBC gymnastics announcer Al Trautwig referred to the Olympic gymnast's adoptive parents, Ron and Nellie, as her grandparents.

But the remarks have ignited a debate on social media, because as well as being her biological grandparents, they adopted her when her mother struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, in Columbus, Ohio.

Image copyright E:60 Simone Biles/You Tube
Image caption Simone and her sister, Arianne, with Ron and Nellie

Trautwig's comments were made during NBC's broadcast on Sunday. During the commentary, he remarked: "Biles was raised by her grandfather and his wife, and she calls them 'Mum and Dad'."

Social media users turned to Twitter to correct the commentator, but his response, which has since been deleted, attracted a barrage of comments, as Twitter users debated the gaff.

Image copyright @jenunexpected/Twitter

@Angryeditorials posted: "They are her grandparents, for heavens sake! Would you prefer 'adoptive parents'?"

@jenunexpected responded with: "She said they are her parents. They legally adopted her. Why not refer to them that way?"

Image copyright @TheBoatrights/Twitter

Adoption groups joined the conversation as the debate continued.

Image copyright @Gaming4Adoption/Twitter

Simone Biles's coach also weighed in.

Image copyright @Salto_Coach/Twitter

Some social media users were so upset by the remarks that tweets with the hashtag #FireTrautwig were generated.

On Monday, Trautwig offered an apology as reported by USA Today.

"I regret that I wasn't more clear in my wording on the air," he said in a statement emailed by NBC Sports.

"I compounded the error on Twitter, which I quickly corrected.

"To set the record straight, Ron and Nellie are Simone's parents."

The BBC has contacted NBC sports for a statement.