Paraskevi Papachristou won’t win any medals at the London Olympics. But she likely won herself a little historical fame anyway — the first Olympic athlete to be expelled by her country over a tweet.
USA Today reports :
The Tweet that got Papachristou in trouble was posted July 22: “So many Africans in Greece at least West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food”
Fifty-four people marked it as a “favorite” on Twitter.
Papachristou was to compete in her first Games. The 23-year-old is from Athens.
The IOC has strict guidelines on what athletes can say in social media. This is the first case of an athlete being expelled from an Olympics for social media use.
She apologized on Twitter and Facebook, saying that her comment was a joke.
“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.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee didn’t chuckle, saying her comments ran afoul of the “values and ideals of Olympism.”
Note: Media are reporting Papachristou’s spelling and first name different ways. I went with the spelling from the Hellenic Olympic Committee that booted her.
— Paul Tosto