Racism allegations against member of the Greek Olympic team
UPDATE: 13:00 GMT: Hellenic Olympic Committee banned Voula Papachristou from the Olympics.
Serious racism allegations have been raised today against Greek Athletics champion and member of the Greek Olympic team, Voula Papachristou.
Papachristou, who is currently in London in preparation for the Olympic Games, is in the midst of controversy due a series of tweets, described as insensitive and racist.
Her most recent tweet that drew a lot of attention today reads:
Translation to English: “With so many Africans in Greece.. At least the west Nile mosquitos..will eat homemade food!!!”
Her tweet received plenty of attention with most of it being negative:
Translation to English: “@papaxristoutj Xenophobic comments from a member of the Greek Olympic team are unacceptable. You make us feel ashamed …”
Many others replied by pointing out that the International Olympic Committee has rules against racism while others suggested that the IOC or the Hellenic Olympic Committee should withrdraw her from the Games and punish her.
Papachristou responded by deleting her account for a few minutes and posting the following tweets after she reactivated it again:
Update: An hour later, she published a full apology in both Greek and English (underlined by me):
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.
However, her recent twitter activity probably suggests otherwise.
During the last weeks, the Greek athlete didn’t hide her support for the Greek Neo-Nazist party and its members.
A previous tweet of hers included a sign on a house gate with the Greek message: “TRESPASSERS WILL BE SHOT AND BURIED HERE”.
In another tweet, Papachristou posted a gun photo with the famous Nazi party’s quote from the movie 300 “Come and get them”:
Then, with a tweet dating June 23rd, she wished “Happy Name Day” to the member of the Greek neo-Nazist party Ilias Kasidiaris who became known worldwide a few weeks earlier when he physically attacked 2 female MPs inside a tv studio.
Translation to Greek: “@IliasKasidiaris happy name day, be always strong and real!!!”
Finally,a few other Papachristou’s tweets were retweets of the Neo-nazist party’s official twitter account.
The neo-nazist Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) party received 6.97% of the votes in the June 2012 elections and 18 of the 300 seats inside the Greek parliament.
Until now, there has been no response from the International Olympic Committee or the Hellenic Olympic Committee to the allegations against the Greek athlete that could potentially result to her removal from the Olympic Games.
(thanks to @Cyberela for some of this article’s screenshots)
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