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Voula PapachristouSo here's something you probably never saw coming. An Olympian, Greece's triple jumper Voula Papachristou, was booted from the Games all due to ... a social media gaffe. It's hard to believe she thought she could get away with it in the first place, but she probably didn't think they'd ever go so far as to expel her from the Olympics entirely.
Here's her Tweet: "With so many Africans in Greece... the West Nile mosquitoes will at least eat homemade food!!!"
Ugh. She obviously has the freedom to say whatever she wants to say. She just better be prepared to deal with what comes afterward, especially as an athlete on the world stage. Greece's Olympic Committee says her Tweet was "contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement." And I for one am glad they did what they did. Competing in the Games and representing your country is a privilege and not something that should ever be taken lightly.
This would have been the 23-year-old's first Games, but this wasn’t the first time Papachristou posted eyebrow-raising tweets. She also reportedly has supported policies promoted by Chrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn), an extremist political organization in Greece. Also, she's posted videos in support of the reportedly neo-Nazi party, as well as kudos to a male group member who punched a leftist female lawmaker during a televised debate.
Even though she got some angry comments about her West Nile tweet, she stood by her "joke," tweeting on Tuesday: "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!!!"
If I were the Greek committee, I wouldn't want this young woman representing my country. You can argue about how we're becoming so overly sensitive and politically correct, but there's something to be said about stupidity, too: To make this "joke" immediately before the Opening Ceremonies was just a really dumb move on her part. Clearly athletes need to learn: Before you compete on a global stage, don't go on Twitter.
Also not sure if this has anything to do with their decision, but she was a long shot to medal in the first place. The Olympic Committee didn't even seem to need her to compete to up their medal count anyway. Also, Greece cares about their image, fighting through a depressed economy that's affecting the rest of the world. They really want to put their best foot forward.
"Let her make any miserable 'jokes' on social media while watching the games on TV," a statement by the Democratic Left, one of the three parties in Greece, said. And it looks like that's exactly what she'll be doing!
Do you think this punishment is too extreme?