ATHENS, Greece, July 25 – Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was kicked out of the Olympics on Wednesday for a racist tweet which poked fun at Africans living in the country.
The 23-year-old Papachristou had written that “with so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food”.
Although she subsequently deleted the message after a huge public backlash, the Hellenic Olympic Committee decided to drop her from the squad for London.
“The triple jump athlete Paraskevi (Voula) Papachristou has been expelled from the Greek team of the London Olympics for comments contrary to the values and ideals of the Olympic movement,” said a committee statement.
Papachristou, who was to have left for London in a few days as part of a 105-strong Greek squad for the Games, apologised for the tweet.
“I ask forgiveness from all my friends and fellow athletes if I embarrassed them,” she said.
“Also from all those who supported me. My dreams were the Games. All these years I’ve tried for those specific three days that I would be in London.
Selsouli axed from London 2012 in drug scandal
The 28-year-old, silver medallist at the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul in March, tested positive for a banned diuretic.
She failed the test after taking part in the Paris Diamond League meeting on July 6, where she had set the world’s best time this year of 3min 56.15sec.
Selsouli, who may have also run the 5,000m in London, served a two-year suspension from 2009 to 2011 for an earlier doping offence and now faces a lifetime ban.
“The prohibited substance furosemide was found,” the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said in a statement.
“Alaoui Selsouli has waived her right to the B analysis, and as a result has now been provisionally suspended from all competition in athletics.
“In accordance with IAAF rules, she still has the right to request a hearing which needs to be held by the Moroccan Athletic Federation within the next three months.”
Selsouli started the outdoor season with a personal best of 8min 34.47sec in the 3,000m in Eugene, Oregon in June. Six days earlier, she had won the 5,000m in Rabat in a time of 14min 45.91sec.
“Is it possible that I would not respect the ideals of the Olympic movement?”
Her coach Giorgos Pomaski said he respected the decision of the committee but considered it “very heavy for a cafeteria-type joke”.