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Greece kicks out Olympian for 'contrary' tweets

Triple jumper Voula Papachristou gets the boot after tweeting in a racist manner and offering support of extreme right-wing politics. She will not be the last, surely.

Voula Papachristou may now look back with regret at her Olympic moment. Moutombo/YouTube Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The Olympic movement will not tolerate politics.

Well, when I say "politics," I mean public political statements that might make things a little embarrassing around Olympics time.

So it is, perhaps, no surprise that Greece has removed champion triple jumper Voula Papachristou from its team, after she mocked African immigrants and retweeted a tweet from right-wing party the Golden Dawn.

I am grateful to Business Insider for offering me a Google translation of her own tweet. It apparently read: "With so many Africans in Greece...At least the mosquitoes of West Nile.. will eat homemade food."

The Golden Dawn tweet that she retweeted allegedly read: "Samaras will drive out the foreigners, will be declared EEZ, will capture the hooded and then wake up."

The Associated Press quotes a statement issued by the Hellenic Olympic Committee saying that Papachristou was "placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement."

Those of a twisted nature might dare to point out that the former president of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samaranch, was himself sometimes associated with political parties of a rightist bent.

Still, Papachristou has apologized for her own tweet, saying: "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."


Given how Twitter has become the favorite place for athletes to express their inner beings over the last couple of years, Papachristou may not be the last to fall foul of international scrutiny.