Track star Voula Papachristou will no longer be competing for Greece in the London Olympics due to a recent Twitter post in which she joked about African immigrants and the West Nile virus. Greece’s Olympic Committee announced Papachristou expulsion Wednesday saying the 23-year-old has been "placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.”
Papachristou, who was set to compete in the triple jump, posted the unfortunate tweet on Monday. “With so many Africans in Greece… At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!!!” she wrote.
The athlete apologized early Wednesday in a statement posted on TwitLonger. “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,” Papachristou said.
“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,” she added. “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.”
Papachristou’s coach George Pomaski said the tweet did not warrant an expulsion from the games. "This is a big disappointment not only for her but for her family and for myself, and anyone involved in the Greek team," he said.
Although the opening ceremony is not until Friday, the London Olympics kicked off Wednesday with women’s soccer.
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