triple jumper athlete Voula Papachristou apologised on Facebook for the "unfortunate and tasteless joke" (Facebook)
Greece has expelled Olympic triple jumper athlete Voula Papachristou over a Twitter comment on African immigrants condemned as racist.
The country's Olympic Committee decided to disqualify her after a "joke" on the popular social media that caused an outcry on Twitter.
"With so many Africans in Greece...at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home-made food," the athlete tweeted on 23 July.
Angry reactions emerged on Twitter soon after, with many users calling her a "Nazi" and supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn party.
Papachristou apologised with another tweet. "I apologise if I insulted people," she said. "I have no mingling with politics. I am only an athlete." She called it an "unfortunate and tasteless joke".
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However, the coalition government partner Democratic Left demanded her expulsion from the Greek Olympic Team. "Racist humour and 'jokes' concerning human lives are not tolerated by the Greek society and cannot thrive in Greek athletics," the party said with a statement. "The least the Greek Olympic Committee can do now is to revoke Voula Papachristou from the Olympic Games. Watching the Olympics on TV screen, she could do as many vile 'jokes' she wants through the social media. But for sure, she cannot represent Greece in London."
Despite her apologies, Isidoros Kouvelos, president of the committee, decided to take a step forward.
The Hellenic Olympic Committee said in a statement that Papachristou was dropped from the Olympic team "for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement."
The West Nile virus is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes of African origin which can be fatal to humans. This summer one man died and more than 180 were infected in Athens.
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