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metronews.ca Thursday, July 26, 2012

Greek athlete expelled over racist tweets Track. Olympian’s apologies come too late as politicians call for her removal Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was expelled from Greece’s Olympic team Wednesday for her comments on Twitter mocking African immigrants and expressing support for a far-right party. The Hellenic Olympic Committee said Wednesday that Papachristou had been excluded from the team “for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement.” “It’s the same as violating

fair play,” Isidoros Kouvelos, the head of Greece’s Olympic mission, told Greece’s Skai. “We are not here just to get medals, but to promote the Olympic ideals, to show our character.” Papachristou’s Twitter account contained several retweets and links promoting the views of Golden Dawn, a formerly marginal extreme-right party. But it was her attempt at a joke Sunday that went viral. Commenting on the widely reported appearance of Nile-viruscarrying mosquitoes in Athens, Papachristou wrote: “With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!” After the comments and the ensuing uproar, the Hellenic

Damage control

“We are not here just to get medals, but to promote the Olympic ideals.” Isidoros Kouvelos, head of Greece’s Olympic mission

Olympic Committee banned all Greek athletes from using social media to express any personal opinions not related to the Olympics. Papachristou’s attitude changed completely Wednesday and she posted six apologetic tweets in less than two hours. The decision to pull the 23-year-old from the team, however, was irreversible. the associated press

Greece’s Voula Papachristou at the women’s triple jump final at the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. Matt dunham/the associated press file

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