Greece has removed triple jumper Voula Papachristou from its Olympic team following posts she made on Twitter mocking African immigrants and expressing support for the fascist Golden Dawn Party.
The 23-year-old athlete was set to participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games beginning this Friday, but has now been expelled by the Hellenic Olympic Committee "for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement," it said.
Papachristou has since removed the controversial tweets and has issued a public apology on her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
"I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account," she wrote in an extended post.
"I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights."
One of the tweets in question mocked African immigrants in Greece. Greek news blog Keep Talking Greece translated the original statement made July 23 as such:
"With so many Africans in Greece... At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!!!"
The other post was a link to a post from Golden Dawn politician Ilias Kasidiaris (known for slapping a female member of the Communist Party on live television) that criticized Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' stance on immigration.
The Golden Dawn Party has vehemently opposed immigration into Greece, particularly from the Middle East and Africa, and its supporters have been accused of numerous hate crimes targeting immigrants and ethnic minorities.
"My dream is connected to the Olympic Games, and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values," Papachristou continued in her written apology. "Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races."
The head of the Greece's Olympic Committee Isidoros Kouvelos said Papachristou had "showed no respect for the basic Olympian value" in her actions.
"She made a mistake and in life we pay for our mistakes," he told SKAI TV.
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