Voula Papachristou expelled from Greece's Olympic team for racist tweet PDF Print E-mail


Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was expelled from Greece's London 2012 Olympic team Wednesday for her comments on Twitter mocking African immigrants and expressing support for a far-right party.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee said Wednesday that Papachristou is "placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement."

Her tweet that got her expelled:

"With so many Africans in Greece.. At least the West Nile mosquitoes .. will eat homemade food!!!"

The attempted humour was a reference to recent reports of mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus appearing in Athens.

The post was met with a flood of criticism on Twitter. Papachristou's initial reaction was to dismiss it.

"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!!!"

Her tweets received wider attention when they were translated. People began to pressure her sponsors, as well. She apologized via Twitter:

  1. "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."

    Do you think Papachristou deserved to be expelled? Do you agree that her comment was racist?