Olympian Kicked Off Team For Racist Tweets Says She’s “Bitter and Upset”
Kulture Kritc reported Wednesday that triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked off Greece’s Olympic team following her comments on Twitter making fun of Africans, and expressing support for a far-right party. Now the banned athlete says she is “bitter and upset” about being kicked off the Olympic team.
Papachristou, @papaxristoutj on Twitter, originally raised eyebrows by retweeting Golden Dawn, an extreme right wing party that emerged in the Greek Parliament in the national elections.
Then she tweeted, “With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!” That tweet caused a backlash among people who felt Papachristou’s statements were at best insensitive, and at worst racist.
Papachristou issued a lackluster apology after the dust-up, saying ”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!!!” Later, she issued a much more earnest apology, but by then it was too late. The Greek Olympic committee announced on Wednesday that Papachristou had been ”placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.”
When asked during an interview with Reuters how she was feeling after being expelled from the games, Papachristou said:
I have not slept at all and to be honest I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened. I am trying to stay calm otherwise I would lose control.
I am thankful to my coach and family and so many other people who have stuck by me…. After so many years of hurt and sacrifices to try and get to my first Olympics I am very bitter and upset. But what has upset me the most is the excessive reaction and speed of the disciplinary decision.
Some feel that Greece overreacted by kicking Papachristou off the team, do you agree? Should Greek officials have considered how long and hard she’s been working to make her way to the Olympics when deciding whether or not to kick her off the team? Should a few tweets undo everything that she’s worked to build all these years?
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