She Knew Better: Greek Athlete Kicked Out Of Olympics For Crude African Joke

July 25, 2012  |  


I’m still trying to figure out how after training for years to compete in something as massive as the Olympics, Voula Papachristo ruined it all in the span of 80 characters on Twitter. The 23-year-old Greek triple jumper was expelled from participating in the Summer games after she sent out this eyebrow-raising tweet July 22:

“So many Africans in Greece at least West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food.”

Really? What’s equally disturbing is The Town Talk‘s account that 54 people favorited the racist tweet, but those were her only fans. The International Olympic Committee has strict guidelines regarding what athletes can say on social media and Papachristo will go down in history as the first athlete to be expelled from an Olympics for social media use. After much complaint from leftist political parties and other Greeks, the Hellenic Olympic Committee said in a statement Wednesday that Papachristou is “placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.” The Greek Olympic Committee also released a follow-up statement confirming that expulsion.

Initially, Papachristo insisted her comment was just a joke, tweeting later the same day, “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!!!” She pressed paused and changed her tune  though once she realized she wouldn’t be traveling to London. Reverting back to Facebook and Twitter, the young athlete apologized for her words.

“I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account,” she said. 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.”

Unfortunately, she does believe in cracking non-funny jokes about people of different racial backgrounds online. That’s not exactly respect.

Do you think the IOC made the right choice expelling Papachristo?

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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  • AuntieBlue

    That’ll learn her!

  • Mystique

    Well, i guess that heifer can kiss her dream goodbye now. I wonder how many of those black African men has she slept with and then go talk about black people.

  • I don’t get it…..I don’t understand what her joke is supposed to mean….

  • yoda

    She’s a dumb a** and deserves to get kicked out

  • Maurie28

    Hell yeah!!!!you best believe that she is NOT in any way sorry for what she said…thats exactly how she feels and so many greeks about africans or foreigners in general in their counrty.She will continue to believe that trust even more now.I live with these people and there is no such thing as greeks are very welcoming(infront of you Yeah)it dont occure to them what about when they are in another persons country..watever people like her grrew up with that mentality and will never change it..If they could throw every foreigner out they would…too bad she messed up her own sh*t trying to put others down this time..hahaha

  • Shay

    At first she did not feel she needed to apologize and only did so once she was kicked off the team. It’s a shame that she wasted years of training, but when you are competing in the Olympics, you represent not only yourself, but your entire country.

  • The “joke” was in poor “taste” sorry for the pun. She should have know better-think people before you “tweet”. I know I do.

  • Ekene

    She got hat he deseved and the IOC did good to boo her out . Sorry babe but the joke inowon you, hahaha

  • lalatarea

    i loooove how she was so proud of herself lmao then she completely changed her story when the other shoe dropped.

  • popister

    As a Greek, I am glad that the Greek Olympic Committee kicked her out. I rarely comment on posts, but I was really shocked at her comment…yes, unfortunately there are racists where I come from, and I hate the fact that a lot of politicians in Europe – and in North America in general always suggest that the countries’ problems come from immigrants, making the matter worse. I am however glad in this case, that as soon as her twitter comments came up, it was other Greeks that caused the stir and the Greek Olympic Committee kicked her out – not the IOC as stated in this article…maybe it gives people like me just a little bit of hope that not everyone is like her, and I do not want to be associated with THAT Greek image. We have a long way to go, but it’s a step.

  • trth

    SHE IS A NEO-NAZI supporter…so in that context, her tweet IS MEANT to be racist. From another person, it can taken as a joke, but this creature supports the neo-nazi party in greece and tweets their manifesto and speeches. its therefore best that SHE go back to where she came from….the sewer

  • Sterculius65

    More pc nazi bs.

  • please wake up

    It was a justified punishment. However, the issue is not really social media,but the fact that this is how those ppl view and talk about blk ppl on a regular basis. It sad that ppl won’t respect blk as equal and think it funny to degrade them in private or in public. Certain ppl feel in title to say what they want. You see her initial comment that she does replay she say what she wants and then move on, thats not how the world works. You are accountable for your words and action. SAd that if she said that what worst things she doesn’t say stamp : #racist

  • get real

    I’m suprised the comments here didn’t turn into a “bash the black man” session. If it wasn’t for African (who told greeks and romans) then those idiots wouldn’t know anything.

  • colliz6

    They were right to expel her. I also don’t think her apology was sincere. She never choose to apologise until after she found out she was in trouble with olympic officials. In fact she went on to defend the tweet and dismiss people’s reactions like it was no big deal. The lame apology was more to appease the IOC than to acknowledge that she was wrong. There’s also a bit of a sarcastic undertone in that so called apology that doesn’t sit well with me. She can keep her apology and her crude “jokes”. We’ll see how far she gets with that attitude.

  • All laughs on her. I’m glad no one of the opposite race of white or any race at that stepped out of their character. Everything took care of itself. I got a cocky , “I’m bad” attitude out of all her responses even w/ the apology. This …trying to find a word that fits her….couldn’t think of one, but this girl, not woman wasn’t at all sincere.

  • Almut

    Well, this didn’t solve the problem of rasism in Greece. Also the problem of massive ilegal immigration, which creates many problem in society. There are members, or supporters of Golden Dawn political party in Greek parlament, who are attacking all kinds immigrants from Asia or Africa with no reason, stabing them, beating and getting away not punished, because police do not care about well being of illegal imigrants. This joke of the girl seems very innocent comparing with the reality.

  • She sorry alright, now that she’s been exposed and expelled.That will teach her a lesson and anyone else who acts so disrespectful, that will not be tolerated.I hope she made her parents proud!!!

  • and the irony about all of this is that some dumb black guy is probably her bf, fiancee or husband

    • Maurie28

      Lol only if he is an american basketball player to show off to her friends yeap.People like wont date black men tho..she sees them as below her..smh

  • kaydenpat

    Of course, she should have been kicked out of the Olympics. Let her stay home and think about making more non-funny racist “jokes”.

  • Sher

    And why’s she in our “African braid” on top of her racist head??!! SMH

    • Smacks_hoes

      Umm ok? This joke I’d racially insensitive but in no way Is it racist

  • bluekissess

    She cray. The funny part is when they retract lmao. So, the apology isn’t sincere she’s saying sorry because someone told her. If someone shows you who they are believe them the first time. The only thing she’s jumping over is her couch cause that’s where she would be.

  • ntombi

    Yeah african people were just put in this world to be everybody’s butt jokes isn’t it until there are repurcusions that is. No the punishment fitted the crime. She deserved it, and should be banned for the next time as well. And I absolutely loathe it so much when they apologise for what they did or said. Especially when the apology is accompanied by a justification that suggests that people are over reacting and therefore should be offended (subtext). But I’m sick of peopel back tracking when they get themselves in the hot water. How about you don’t say anything you are going to be sorry for. People need to learn to filter their words even on the net

    • ntombi

      i meant …..should not be offended since it was a “joke”. This is what i feel her lame forced out apology meant

    • jerjorju

      Right on!

  • Jay

    Sucks for her lol

    • Treacle234

      Indeed she would be 27 years next Olympics, which means she would have to work extra hard to get a medal that time around. People need to learn, you have to choose your words carefully especially when you plan to broadcast your opinions publicly. Hopefully she learns her lesson.

  • Rem

    Sorry but I dont think the punishment fits the crime. Olympians work 4 long hard years to compete in the Olympics I don’t think one moment of a lapse in judgement or an insensitive comment is deserving of taking the girl out of the Olympics. Sometimes I can’t stand the way the world is today where you have to walk on egg shells in order not to offend anybody or all your dreams can be crushed or you’re lively hood ruined. Not to mention political correctness only serves more as a band-aid for society woes not a cure like people try to pretend it is. Was the joke in bad taste,yes, but saying she cant compete because what she said was offensive doesn’t seem to be a just or fair punishment.

    • bluekissess

      Maybe she just should’ve shut her mouth and just work. Let her talent speak not her stupid comments.

    • colliz6

      What’s the problem with being politically correct and sensitive to the feelings of fellow human beings? I think if we all walked on egg shells more often and were more mindful of how our actions might affect those around us the world would be a much happier place for all.

    • Treacle234

      I agree her punishment was a bit harsh, considering next Olympics she would be out of her prime. She would be 27 years next Olympics, which means she would have
      to work extra hard to get a medal that time around. But she and others need to
      learn, you have to choose your words carefully especially when you plan
      to broadcast your opinions publicly. Hopefully she learns her lesson.

    • EE

      @ Rem you obviously don’t get it and never will. I could try to make you understand, but I won’t bother, there really is no point. Thank God there are people who understand the enormity of what she said and what it shows. You do realize she was going to compete in the olympics? where she would be encountering athletes from all over the world? SMH. Enough said.

  • Wait im confused if she had made a derogatory statement about gays, and GLAAD tried to get her kicked out the Olympics, everyone would be up in arms complaining how gays can’t take a joke, and how she has freedom of speech. etc.. But now she says something about blacks and suddenly it’s unacceptable. smh

    • Kay

      This is completely incorrect, she was kicked out for saying insensitive statements so if she did say something about gays so I’m pretty sure the punishment would have been the same

    • Jreal

      so I m guessing what she said was not derogatory about black people? You must have nothing between your ears…..

    • sammi_lu

      umm I’m pretty sure her comment was about the number of Africans in Greece…and she was ousted by the Olympic committee not at the uproar of the Africans visiting, but because they felt it was tacky and racist and not what the Olympics represent.

    • EE

      @ Courtney Banks- I dont really understand why you’re confused. I also do not understand why you would compare being gay to being black. Being black is not really a choice you know? arguably, neither is being gay, but you know what the difference is? you can choice who you want to share being gay with, can you do that as a black person? I do not understand how an entire race of people can be compared to peoples sexuality. Please people think before you make comments! sheesh!

  • Lilmo

    Thank goodness there are mosquitoes in greece too. Good she was a scapegoat. 2 months ago, a lady lost her job in the UK due to some hate words she made about her own country. We all should learn to be careful what we post on social medias

  • Cher

    Did the IOC do the right thing? Heck yeah!! People need to learn to choose their words carefully. Stupid comments like that spread ignorance.

  • Questioning Racism

    It’s a pretty stupid joke, but how is it racist? How does it imply that people from Africa are somehow less or inferior or demeaned? If you substitute English or Russian or Asian or South American in a similar context, I have trouble seeing it as anything but a lame, kind of immature joke. I think we all need to be a little less touchy; people of all walks of life make silly comments, trying to be funny and epic-failing. You want to hear Racist with a capital R — listen to some professional comedians, of all races, sometimes and really think about it.

    • sammi_lu

      Pretty stupid indeed..whether it is racist that is debatable. My problem with it is that it is just flat out insensitive, the West Nile Virus has claimed many lives in Africa and other countries including Europe. It’s not about us needing to be less touchy it’s about people being less crass and wreckless with their words. If you substituted English, Russian, or Asian her comment still carries the same weight.

      • Angel

        Some people just dont get it. Obviously many people have died from this so how can anyone sit here and defend this. Its like when people joke about HIV/AIDS in regards to Africans…its beyond being “kinda immature”…its borderline evil

  • Jo

    Kudos to the powers that be for expelling instantly. She may have intended it as a “joke” but should have understood it would never be funny. Her getting expelled is the most Olympically spirited thing I’ve encountered on this year’s Olympics (and I live in London).

  • wow, grow a f’in backbone world…

    • sammi_lu

      aww it seems your comment was either moderated or edited..just as well seeing as it was probably just as ignorant and insensitive as Papachristou’s.

      • I edited it myself lest someone spineless dweeb be insulted. such as yourself sammi_lu. to reiterate, I bet it was bc she is white and she is hot that she got banned. Would it matter if it was a black athlete who tweeted? You all would be “har har he so damn funny..” hypocrites is all I’m sayin…

        • sammi_lu

          Judging by your response..u seem like the one who needs to take a chill pill. And I’m the spineless dweeb when you felt the need to edit or retract your comment lest someone be insulted..yeah ok. If you weren’t so busy making it a black and white thing, you would see how making a joke about an epidemic that plagues a particular region is in extremely poor taste. If a black athlete as you stated, would have tweeted would still be wrong. No need to sugarcoat something when it came out sugar free. This young lady and yourself need to learn a thing or two about racial insensitivity.. and in case your biased eyes didn’t catch it..I said RACIAL..not black or white.

          • if it’s not a black and white thing… then what is it?

            • colliz6

              Your comments throughout this thread are outrageous. If you can’t see the bigger picture beyond race then there’s really no hope for you. It doesn’t matter who made the comment. As sammi_lu told you earlier, to make “jokes” about a plaque that killed millions of people is in very poor taste. Plain and simply there is no justification; and your assertion that she was penalised because she is hot and white makes you look very stupid. Why are you on here defending a woman that made a mockery out of the suffering of other human beings? And when you said the world needs to grow a backbone are you insinuating that we should all tolerate this type of behavior? If that’s your mindset you are truly a sad and pitiful individual.

            • colliz6

              Your comments throughout this thread are outrageous. If you can’t see the bigger picture beyond race then there’s really no hope for you. It doesn’t matter who made the comment. As sammi_lu told you earlier, to make “jokes” about a plaque that killed millions of people is in very poor taste. Plain and simply there is no justification and your assertion that she was penalised because she is hot and white makes you look very stupid. Why are you on here defending a woman that made a mockery out of the suffering of other human beings? And when you said the world needs to grow a backbone are you insinuating that we should all tolerate this type of behavior? If that’s your mindset you are truly a sad and pitiful individual.

            • sammi_lu

              Lisa..I don’t think Tigger with an energizer bunny battery pack strapped to his back swigging down a red bull would have enough energy to break that down for you. Your brain is only registering black and white but Africans come in all hues..Charlize Theron being a well known example. So tell me where did you deduct ‘black’ from African (see how u made it racist? the same way many others took it, right?) Myself on the other hand found it racist beyond what the eye can see..I took it as an ill Joke on the African race.. same effect for me had she made a joke about SARS against the Chinese race..or Mad Cow disease jokes against Europeans. If you can’t understand on top of the underlying racism that it is plain insensitive to joke about anything that has claimed lives..then think about making a public joke about SIDS, Cancer,HIV/AIDS, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina…

        • nola

          the thing is black people are never this blatantly racist or insensitive especially on social media we know better. We react but we rarely start that’s why not many black celebs are caught out there

  • Im torn. I think they wanted to make an example out of someone. They could have given her a hefty fine and a warning. But they did what they saw fit. I did laugh when iread the comment she made but was shocked at the source considering she had so much at stake.

    • Jolene

      Did you just crawl out of a cave? Girl, bye.

    • Jolene

      Did you just crawl out of a cave? Girl, bye.

    • Maurie28

      Hell they only did something cause it had to do with the olympics and people watching(they always have to look good when othere are watching but they are doing absolutely nothing about greek racist beating and stabbing people on the streets and you cant call the cops because they will NOT show up too busy chilling chatting with eachother to be bothered about a foreigner.Plus why should they,nobody is watching..smh

  • Years to train, seconds to get kicked out. She was at the Olympics, what did she think would happen? Wrong place to be bigoted.

  • That creature is just salty that the Greek men prefer each other to her!

  • MzSegal

    She made an inappropriate joke and it was delt with in a fair manner with that said
    lets move on…..

  • Baddvixentype

    I think she got what she deserves. People’s true colors come out on the web. She deserved to be expelled. She has no one but to blame but herself. She ruined her dream…and to work for so hard so long to throw it all away because you wanted to be ignornat…ha! sucks for her. I dont feel one ouce of sympathy for her.

    • Baddvixentype

      I dont understand how someone could dislike what i had to say. are you implying that what she did was right and/or that she shouldnt have been repremended?

      • Kenedy

        Lol, don’t feel bad, i notice stuff like that all the time, i think people are just trying to be sneaky….now watch my comment get dislikes too

  • My grandmother use to say what is within you can not hurt you itis what you allow to comeout of you that has the potential to destroy you. Maybe she learned her lesson now that all her hard work is null and void over one stupid comment which wasnt funny from the start. That will learn ya.

  • @she_talks

    Well she paid her money and made her choice…hopefully next time she will think before she utters something as disrespectful as she did! The “joke” displays the real casual disrespectful attitude often displayed by non-blacks (and dare I say it especially Europeans) when addressing or talking about black culture and / or black people. Sometimes I wonder whether this itself is endemic…

    • @she_talks this well said I wanted to say this but with curse words…..u said it with so much class! love it!

  • DJones

    Kudos to the Olympics for taking action and not tolerating her ignorant comments.

  • Smacks_hoes

    “oh she go learn today!!” {insider} …. I’m not gonna say she’s racist because everyone has made a racially insensitive jokes before. It’s all fun and games until you write a crude joke on your public TWITTER
    PAGE…. This is why I don’t like twitter. Peopl always doing the most for attention. She probably should have thought about the outcome before she typed this joke

  • TheRealistKC

    Looks like she hit rewind and replay to me…GTFOH!

    • bluekissess

      She’s gonna pause on her couch cause that’s where she would be watching

  • sammi_lu

    They should let her compete so those Africans can make a joke outta her on that track! Plus she should have to face the music from her fellow athletes and be greeted with boos from the crowd.

    • sammi_lu ik thats right!

    • jerjorju

      Good point. But I guess the Olympic Committee had to make an example out of her so there are no future racist tweets.

  • NaturalJem

    She got what she deserves. That joke was 0% funny and 100% disrespectful…..I guess the funny part is her repercussions,

  • Cocoa

    This will learn her! Watch those “jokes”!