Greek Olympic athlete disqualifed over racist tweet

Greek triple jump athlete Voula Papachristou, who had been part of Greece’s delegation to the London Olympics, has been disqualified over a racist posting on her Twitter account earlier this week, the head of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Isidoros Kouvelos told Skai on Wednesday.

The decision came despite a statement issued earlier on Wednesday by Papachristou in which she apologizes for a joke she posted on her Twitter account on Monday referring to the West Nile virus and immigrants in Greece. The posting prompted an outcry with calls for her to be disqualified.

In her statement Papachristou said, «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.”

In an indication that she was obliged to issue the apology, the triple jumper added, «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.”

On Tuesday, Papachristou retweeted a post by Ilias Kasidiaris, an MP with the neo-fascist Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) suggesting that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ tough stance on immigrants, among other things, is just posturing.

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