Greek Olympian booted for racist tweet
Tweeting a racial joke has cost a Greek Olympian the chance to represent her country in this year’s Olympic Games in London.
Greek Olympian Voula Papachristou was dropped from her country’s Olympic team for the joke she posted on her Twitter account, tech site Mashable reported.
Mashable said Papachristou had tweeted a message that, when translated, supposedly targeted Africans —but later followed it up with several tweets apologizing for it.
As of 8 a.m. Thursday (Manila time), the joke that triggered her ouster was still online.
In an apology she tweeted in English, she expressed "heartfelt apologies" for the "unfortunate and tasteless" joke she tweeted.
"I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights," she said.
"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," she added.
She apologized to her friends and fellow athletes, the National Team, as well as the people and companies who supported her athletic career, as well as to her coach and family.
The apology, however, did not prevent her ouster from the team.
Isidoros Kouvelos, the head of Greece’s Hellenic Olympic Commission, said Papachristou was not contacted before or after the committee announced her ouster from the Games.
Even American swimmer Ricky Berens, an advocate for Olympians’ ability to post freely during the Games, told Mashable via email he could understand the Greek committee’s action.
“I myself am enjoying what everyone has been posting and seeing what other Olympians are doing. I hope that it stays that way and people aren’t freaked out by this. There is a line that you don’t cross and she crossed it,” Mashable quoted him as saying.
Mashable also cited an Associated Press report quoting a spokesperson who said Greece’s Olympic committee has barred Greek Olympians from talking about anything not related to the Games on social media for the remainder of the Games.
“Getting booted from the Olympics is harsh punishment for athletes whose life revolves around training and preparation,” it noted. — TJD, GMA News
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