Greece expels Olympic athlete over racist tweets

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(NNPA)—Greek female triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off the Olympic team July 25 after she tweeted a racist remark about African immigrants in the Mediterranean nation.

Papachristou, who has shown support for Greek’s far right Golden Dawn political party, tweeted a remark about the influx of mos­quitoes in the country carrying the West Nile Virus.

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KICKED OFF TEAM—Greece’s Voula Papachristou lands in the sand after her jump at the Women’s Triple Jump final at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland, June 29. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, file)

“With so many Africans in Greece…At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!!!” she tweeted.

Papachristou did not immediately apologize for the tweet, either, defending her remark in another tweet. “That’s how I am. I laugh. I am not a CD to get stuck!!! And if I make mistakes, I don’t press the replay! I press Play and move on!!!”

However, after the controversy gained traction, Isidoros Kouvelos, head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee, made it clear that her comments would not be tolerated. He told the [BBC] that she “showed no respect for the basic Olympic value.”

The decision to pull the 23-year-old triple jumper from the Olympic team was irreversible, he said.

“She has been informed…that this is a decision that will not change,” he said.

According to reports, a statement from Greek officials said that she’d been “placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.”

Papachristou eventually apologized via Twitter after learning her fate saying, “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.”

(Reprinted from the Afro American.)

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