Athlete banned for racist joke
26 July 2012, 16:18
London - Greek triple-jumper Voula Papachristou has been expelled from the Greek Olympic team after posting an offensive racist joke on her Twitter page, according the Daily Mail.
Papachristou, who has far-right leanings and has expressed sympathy for right-wing groups, was kicked off the national team for her offensive remarks targeting African migrants.
"With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!," she said, referring to reports of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus in her home country.
Following a torrent of outrage from other Twitter users, the athlete first dismissed her comments lightly as a joke, but then later was forced to issue a grovelling apology.
She was still, however, expelled from the team by the Greek Olympic Committee, who said her statements had been ‘contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement’.
The athlete later said in a statement: "I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account.
"I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights."
"My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races. I would like to apologise to all my friends and fellow athletes, who I may have insulted or shamed, the National Team, as well as the people and companies who support my athletic career."
"Finally, I would like to apologise to my coach and my family."
Having earlier expressed support for an extreme political party on Twitter by reposting their messages and videos, Tweeters regarded her apologies as insincere.
The athlete could not be reached for further comment.