A Greek triple jumper has made an early exit from the Olympic games before they have even begun after posting a mocking message on Twitter joking about Africans.
Voula Papachristou has been kicked off of Greece's team for making "statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement," the Hellenic Olympic Committee said Wednesday, according to a Washington Post report.
In the controversial tweet that was meant as a joke, Papachristou wrote: "With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!" Her comments quickly went viral and prompted thousands of negative responses that has since snowballed.
Along with the "tasteless joke" , Papachristou’s Twitter account contains several retweets and postings of YouTube videos promoting the views of Golden Dawn, a formerly marginal extreme right party that entered the Greek Parliament in the recent two national elections — in May and June this year — by polling almost 7 percent of the vote.
The blonde athlete at first seemed unaware of the storm of discontent brewing against her and responded to negative messages on Tuesday by laughing it off, saying: "That's how I am. I laugh. I am not a CD to get stuck!!! And if I make mistakes, I don't press the replay! I press Play and move on!!!"
However, she is now understanding the error of her flippant comments and made a public apology on Wednesday.
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“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," said the 23-year-old, who is currently in Athens and will not now be heading to London.
“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.”
Before the publication of her final humble tweet, the Democratic Left - one of the three parties in Greece's coalition government - published a statement bashing her "humor."
"Let her make any miserable 'jokes' on social media while watching the games on TV. She definitely cannot represent Greece in London," it read.
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