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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