A racist tweet just cost a triple jumper her spot on the Olympic team. Voula Papachristou of Greece was expelled from representing her country at the London games for making fun of Africans. In the now removed Twitter post Papachristou jokes about African blood, writing, “With so many Africans in Greece… At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!!!”
Her words were translated from Greek to English by the website Keep Talking Greece, making the Hellenic Olympic Committee take notice. After a review of her tweet, the committee released a statement Wednesday (July 25) explaining that the decision was “for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.”
Papachristou was to travel to London just ahead of the games, and has since apologized (in English), via Twitter. “I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account,” she wrote. “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 apologize 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 apologize to my coach and my family.”
While Papachristou is out, there are two other Olympians hoping to make their first time at the games memorable. Claressa “T-Rex” Shields and Lia Neal—both 17—have each been spotlighted for making it to the games in their respective sports.
The opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games kicks off Friday (July 27).
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