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London Olympics: Greek athlete expelled for racist tweeting

July 25, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Greece's Voula Papachristou lands in the sand after her triple jump at the European Athletics Championships on June 29.
Greece's Voula Papachristou lands in the sand after her triple jump… (Matt Dunham / Associated…)

LONDON -- Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou never made it to London, managing to be offensive on multiple levels via twitter.

She made racist comments on her account and did not back down right away, and kept on going by also retweeting a political party member from the far right.

Finally, she apologized on Facebook in Greek and in English, but Greek officials said she had not respected Olympic values and kicked her out of the Games on Wednesday.

The track and field events do not start until a week from Friday. Media reports indicated she was still in Athens.

Said Papachristou, in a statement: "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."

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