Greek triple jumper banned from Games for racially insensitive tweet

Athens: 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.”

After the comments and the ensuing uproar, the Hellenic Olympic Committee banned all Greek athletes from using social media to express any personal opinions not related to the Olympics.

Papachristou’s Twitter account, (at)papaxristoutj, contained several retweets and links to sites and YouTube videos promoting the views of Golden Dawn, a formerly marginal extreme right party that won Parliamentary seats in national elections in May and June, polling almost 7 percent of the vote. She has since erased those links and retweets from her account.

But it was her attempt at a joke Sunday that went viral. Commenting on the widely reported appearance of Nile-virus-carrying mosquitoes in Athens, Papachristou wrote: “With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!”. Her tweet prompted thousands of negative comments that snowballed Wednesday.

Agencies