Racist tweet bans Greek triple-jumper Voula Papachristou from London Olympics
Racism has many shades of gray; it can creep up even when it’s part of a seemingly innocent joke.
Greek triple-jumper, Voula Papachristou, has been banished from the London Olympics set to begin this Friday, after cracking the following joke over Twitter:
“With so many Africans (immigrants) in Greece, the West Nile (infected) mosquitoes at least eat home-made food.”
“RACISM – We cannot allow for anything that can be deemed to be racist and offensive towards any group of people.”
The Greek Olympic Committee banned Voula Papachristou from participating in the Olympics. She was considered one of the potential finalists for the women’s triple-jump.
Voula Papachristou is a supporter of the Greek nationalist party, “Golden Dawn“, according to various sources and her own posting of images related to the far right political party that took home 350,000 votes during the recent elections in Greece.
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.
While the banishment of Voula Papachristou from the upcoming London Olympics was over a single tweet, it comes to show that social media can make or break a professional athlete and how they are perceived by their peers and the world.