Greek Olympian Banned For Racist Tweet Thinks Her Punishment Was Excessive

    July 27, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Voula Papachristou, the Greek triple-jumper whose distasteful tweets earned her a swift exit from this year’s Olympic games, thinks that she was treated unfairly.

Earlier this week, Papachristou was expelled from competing at the London games for tweeting this to her 9,000 followers:

With so many Africans in Greece … at least the West Nile mosquitos will eat homemade food!!!

That tweet drew the attention of the Greek Olympic Committee, who promptly dismissed Papachristou from the national team. She issued a lengthy apology (in English) via Twitter, but it was too late to save her position on the squad.

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.

Now, Papachristou is speaking out. According to her, the committee’s actions were both rash and harsh.

“After so many years of hurt and sacrifices to try and get to my first Olympics I am very bitter and upset. But what has upset me the most is the excessive reaction and speed of the disciplinary decision,” she said. “”I don’t know if they want to make an example out of me because of my profile, this is for others to judge, but what I believe is that they used their maximum disciplinary power on me for this. They went straight to the final stage in excluding me from the team, which was highly excessive.”

Social media has been the downfall of many athletes. Papachristou isn’t the first, and she won’t be the last. Whether or not she deserved to be banned outright from participation is up for debate, but it remains as a cautionary tale for anyone that uses Twitter. No matter who you are, and no matter how hard you worked for something, a couple keystrokes can ruin everything in a flash.

Chalk it up to the perils of social media.

[via The Guardian]

  • Judy Shabazz

    Serves her right; the entire world knows how racist Greeks are! I’m glad she was expelled, and I applaud the Olympic Committee for doing what is right. Perhaps there is a bit of jealousy toward athletes from Africa and athletes of African decent.

    • Marie

      What a hypocrite you are being, saying that ALL Greek people are racist is ridiculous. That’s pretty presumptuous and rude.

      On another note, I don’t think this punishment was un-fair, reading that tweet made me mad that she could in any way think that’s acceptable behavior. Especially as somebody in the spotlight and possibly looked up to by younger kids!

    • JudyShabazzSmellsLikePoop

      That comment is racist Judy, COME ON.

    • ldavis

      Why would there be any jealousy?

  • Eva Miliakos

    Racism is not to be tolerated and Papachristou’s punishment is just, however Judy Shabazz is just as racist for making such a generalised comment about the Greek people.

  • Jennifer

    I think banning her from the games is excessive. Maybe not allowing her to participate in the opening ceremonies and have her make more of an effort to ‘right the wrong’. i.e., Public service, anti racism charity… something to help the situation. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

  • Lewis Lewis

    If ALL and ONLY Black countries in 1965 let hundreds of millions of non-Blacks into their countries and encouraged the non-Blacks to assimilate. Then 90 years later, Blacks are expected to be minorities in those countries; that’s not done by accident. It’s obviously a plan to wipe out the Black race. AKA genocide.

    This is what’s been done to my people, White people. It’s genocide.

    Anti-Racist is a codeword for Anti-White

    • Dave

      I forgot lewis, which part of it was genocide?

      The part where “the white race” killed off 90% of the native population and then stole their land?
      The part where “the white race” killed off millions of other white people who just believed in something differently?
      Or was it the part where white people stole other people from their land, and enslaved them?

      When you say your land, what do you mean by that? I’m just curious, because “the white race” sure as hell didn’t pay for that land.

      Anyway, I’m black, and I think that her punishment was harsh, I can only imagine all the training she has done and the fact that over 1 mistake her athletic life is over, it’s so sad I can’t help but feel for her. That being said, she’s so stupid she kind of deserves it.

  • Charlie Papoudopulis

    If defending one’s country, culture, and economy is racist, then we’re racists. So what? Support the Golden Dawn!

    • Cheyna

      You can defend yourself without insulting/disrespecting others, especially if your attack people that have done nothing to you

  • lisa k

    The comment was ignorant and racist , it shows she has no class one ought to think before speaking what was the joke ? Kudos to the Olympic committee for not tolerating ignorance.

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  • matt

    She shouldn’t be expelled for something so trivial. I doubt any Africans were offended.

    Think of how hard she (or other athletes) train to go the Olympics, and then to be expelled over something so minor. Can’t anyone just take a joke? So what if it’s an offensive joke? lighten up. Get a thicker skin. Stop being babies.

    • Cheyna

      You DOUBT but you don’t KNOW and if her tweet violated the Olympic code of ethics or conduct then she was rightfully booted. It’s not about being babies it’s about respect and honor.

      • C Mora

        Amen. She, hopefully, is as embarrassed as a well known historic Nazi was after he’d worked so hard to convince his followers that people of color were not superior athletes to his Caucasian athletes. He ,likely worked as hard trying to convince that idea as this flagrant present “former Olympian,” has until Jesse Owens showed him that superiority comes in all colors.

    • wow

      Seriously? Imagine that you and your whole ethnic race is being described as some bug food by a person of a different race. How would you ever KNOW if “any Africans were offended?” She’d have had to go against many African athletes in the games as well. People that she described as bug food.
      Sure, everyone is a little racist in one way or the other, but a lot of people have the grace to control it or keep it to themselves. Publishing a comment like that on Twitter was simply unwise.

  • http://facebook Eleni Orfanidis

    I wonder what the punishment would have been if she was cought smoking a joint? Compare to her punishment, I assume it should be DEATH….But again I wonder, how come and the American swimmer athlete, mr. Pheps, one of the best worldwide, I bieleve, will be performing at the O.G. of 2012? I guess smoking pot it’s not that serious of a problem. So sad, i think, there isn’t any respect, none so ever, towards a coyntry that with opened arms has, and always will be given the enlightment and spirit of the Olympic Games….Because that’s how it should be….Sharing the flame of knowledge, as it has been for thousand of years….and not the one that Egglishmen light their sigarette with….We see the queen falling with James Bont off the sky….Wow….I guess she imitated Goddess Athena….only she forgot to hold a small branch of an olive tree….SO SAD….SUCH AN INSULT….To the SPIRIT of the OLYMPIC GAMES, along with all of the GREEK EXISTANSE………that they continue to exist despite jealousy and hate…………………thank all for taking the time to read….E.K.

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  • Why why

    Sorry but aren’t blacks and the west nile virus both from africa? lol I find her tweet funny. Why is a statement/joke that’s TRUE so inflammatory? Deal with it, they are facts.

    • C Mora

      Sorry, hell! There are facts and there are ways to speak about them in a dignified way. You show your stupidity, also. All Africans are not black, for your information, and if the people she is talking about happen to be all black, then why not complete a statement as such regarding all races. She, and people like her(you)are the quintessential reason why so much distention between the race of man continues. Insensitive, and garish bullies of the world who think that their little indescrepencies should be overlooked. After all, “it was ony a joke.” No, it was meant in a mean state of mind. Jealousy, I suspect. She should have kept it to herself, so as not to have others as stupid as yourself try and quantify what her little mean spirited twitter meant.

    • samuel welsh

      your being an ignorant racist
      her joke sucked
      she should be ashamed of herself.
      bless all africians.

  • jon

    Can someone explain to me exactly how this is a racist remark?

  • Alex

    She absolutely deserved to be expelled from the Olympics because aside from being a racist joke she is now “bitter” about it which demonstrates how she was not repentant to begin with. She should be happy Africans are visiting Greece as they need the tourism! She may never realize that she was at fault and may not learn from her mistake…which has cost her dearly.

    • Jason

      “The Greeks and Romans referred to anyone who did not speak Greek or Latin as “Barbarians,” as the impression their languages made was that of the bleating of sheep.”
      Let the greek games stay greek O.o
      Now you chastize the girl for speaking her mind? Do you want to lose your homes for proclaiming african pride and imposing your will on her? Fools. May zeus send a bolt on the racist committee

  • G.P.S.

    Getting kicked out over THAT? Thats fucking stupid, hows that even racist its making a remark about a country, not color or race. Sad what stupid bullshit people make a huge stink about these days. I hate how trivial society has become.

    • SPG

      LOLLLLL!!! Hey G.P.S., you’re not making a very strong case for your position when you refer to Africa as a country. Read a book sometime.

    • navi

      With a name like “G.P.S.”, you’d think you’d know what a world map looks like.

  • D K

    Wrong,wrong, wrong, to force a type of thinking on others.
    let me say what I wish, you say what you feel
    when you force me to censor my words our world becomes a little worse.

  • Crystal

    Some people on here have no clue what racism means. She’s clearly a racist and what this article doesn’t cover is that right ater she posted that racist comment she also posted an article in support of her governor trying to enforce stricter immigration laws. So..how is this not racist? First she makes an extremely rude comment about “so many Africans” being in Greece and referring to the West Nile mosquitoes eating homemade food. Honestly how ignorant and racist is that? You can feel her hatred through that comment. Why does she even need to point out that “so many Africans” are in Greece. Clearly she has a problem with it if she’s going to follow it up with a vile and dirty disease, which by the way is not a problem in ALL of Africa, she’s pointing out something comepletely irrelevant and rude about the entire continent and its people. Then she continues by posting the immigration article. What does this tell you? That if you can’t see if for what it is then all I can say to you is that “the Nile is not a river in Africa”. She’s very childish to rant on about how unfair it is that she got disqualified. She was never sorry to begin with and that statement was most likely put together by someone else trying to save her dumb butt. The Olympics are not just about sports, people from all over the world are competing are are simply expected to respect one another. She showed no respect, therefore she went against what the Olympics stood for. She made her racist political beliefs public, which she was too dumb to keep to herself. I love how angry she gets once she’s booted out. Talking about how hard she’s worked. It’s all about me, me, me for this girl, I am so satisfied that she’s out of the Olympics.

    • Meredith

      Uh… looks like you need to brush up on your geography. You say, “…the Nile is not a river in Africa”? The Nile River is in Egypt, which is in Africa. Kinda makes your argument sound ill-informed, regardless if the rest of it makes sense or not.

  • http://www.arhontiko-aristis.gr ξενοδοχεια ζαγοροχωρια

    Why the phrase “africans” is rachistic? Only black people stay in Africa????
    Ae you kidding me???

    Her comment was just a stupid joke nothing more nothing less.

  • Nicholas

    her comment was indeed not something to be published not because it was racist , but just because our world is filled of hypocritic and pretentious dominants who decide what s racist and what s not. the girl makes a statement there u occidental morons ignore to see in depth. each nation and each person from the existence of this world has been made for his land and borders were made to secure and dignify and maintain identity and cultural ethics of each nation…this is how human being was made and this is how it will remain…it s something that doesn t tolerate progress. it is a principal yet rational instinct. the first racism started when west europe (and we all know which nations these are) colonized the entire African world and even though now the African ex colonies have declared independence a more silent war has started from the west to africa and generally the 3rd world countries in order to stay on their knees, never prosper, taking still advantages of their wealth and presenting themselves as saviors to the world through that ridiculous scheme called unicef…when u want to help u don t throw a piece of bread to the poor…u help him and supervise him to stand on his knees through production and education. PERIOD. i don t blame the Africans or black people or any human being migrating to another country to pursue a better life and escape misery…I do though detest and despise all these hypocrits who condemn a simple joke as a racist but they haven t seen the worst crimes they have commited in these countries and with the antiracism mask they keep on commiting. Let s stop focusing on what the media feed us daily and let s start to have a clear open and a more spherical notion about facts and events.

  • natlina

    i am so ashamed of her and i am greek

  • ME

    Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the European Community have the Greek oppression of the Macedonians well documented, found Greece guilty, and demanded that it recognize the Macedonian language and nation and end its oppression. Despite of it, the Macedonians continue to exist in Greece as majority in the northern half of Aegean Macedonia and as minority in the southern half, and peacefully continue to demand their human rights. Will Greece ever became a democracy?