Voula Papachristou, Greek athlete, banned from London Olympics 2012 over ‘racist’ tweet joke

By on Jul 26, 2012 in Europe, Internet, Sports Comments

Updated: July 31, 2012 3:00 p.m.

Read Michel Morganella, Swiss athlete, expelled from London Olympics 2012 over racist Twitter message

Paraskevi “Voula” Papachristou, a Greek athlete and a triple jump champion, was banned from joining the London Olympics 2012, after posting a ‘racist’ tweet joke on Monday, July 23, 2012, apparently mocking African immigrants. She later admitted her mistake and apologized.

Paraskevi “Voula” Papachristou in 2009
Image Credit: Getty Images

“With so many Africans in Greece… the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!” Voula Papachristou (@papaxristoutj) tweeted in Greek language, which was believed to have been first translated to English at KeepTalkingGreece.com.

According to Zougla.gr on Wednesday, a Greek website, Papachristou received negative comments and angry reactions from social media in Greece, and was later asked to be expelled from the London Olympics 2012, with the opening ceremony to be held this Friday.

Apparently, the outrage reached the knowledge of the coalition government partner Democratic Left and demanded the Greek Olympics Team to expel her from the London 2012 Olympics. Papachristou, who is set play in the Olympics for the first time, initially did not take the criticisms seriously and tweeted again.

“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!!!” Papachristou tweeted on Tuesday. But her attitude changed the next day and apologized on Twitter, which she also posted on her official Facebook account, as read below.

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 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.

Nevertheless, BBC News reported later that day that Greek Olympics Committee President Isidoros Kouvelos confirmed at Skai TV that Voula Papachristou was expelled from joining the Olympics, noting that the 23-year old athlete “showed no respect for the basic Olympian value.”

On the other hand, George Pomaski, Papachristou‘s coach, said that “it is a big disappointment not only for her but for her family and for me, and anyone involved in the Greek team”, adding that the punishment was too heavy, considering the fact that she already apologized for her mistake.

Voula Papachristou ‘racist’ tweet
Image Credit: Voula Papachristou Twitter

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