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Voula Papachristou

Athlete banned from the Olympics after racist tweet

A triple jump athlete from Greece will no longer be taking part in the Olympics after she expressed racist views on her personal Twitter account ahead of this year’s Games. Voula Papachristou was due to leave for London shortly, but a “joke” she tweeted earlier today lead to the Hellenic Olympic Committee cancelling her trip.

She has deleted the original message, but according to an English translation from Keep Talking Greece, the athlete tweeted: “With so many Africans in Greece… At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!!!”

The committee said that Papachristou was taken off the team for issuing “statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement”, reports the BBC. She later tweeted a number of apologies in Greek, and posted a longer statement in English on Twitter and her Facebook page:

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 apologize to my coach and my family.

Image: Flickr.