If you're going to be racist at the Olympics, you have to do it quietly, like everyone else.
A Greek triple jumper named Voula Papachristou was expelled Wednesday from Greece's Olympic team after posting a racist joke to her Twitter account, then defending herself with the assertion that she is not a compact disc.
The tweet in question combined the thrill of topical comedy (a high number of instances of West Nile Virus have been reported in Greece this summer) with the breezy fun of casual racism (there are too many African immigrants in Greece).
Here's the joke, translated from the original Greek:
"With so many Africans in Greece .. At least the West Nile mosquitos .. will eat homemade food!!!"
Big finish at the end with those exclamation points.
The jumper's tweet immediately prompted an outpouring of negative feedback, with several news outlets in Greece noting that she had previously retweeted a message from Ilias Kasidiaris, a politician in Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party, criticizing the current prime minister's immigration policy.
The BBC reports that Mr. Kasidiaris recently gained notoriety in Greece after he slapped one left-wing female politician and threw water over another, during a televised debate.
Papachristou's immediate response was to tell critics she's all about laughing and moving on, because she's not a CD:
"That's how I am. I laugh! I'm not a CD that gets stuck!!! If I make mistakes, I don't press replay! I press Play and move on!
But on Wednesday, the Greek Olympic committee released a statement declaring that Papachristou had been "placed outside the Olympic team for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement," which is a beautiful way of saying she was fired.
In response, the athlete posted a message in both Greek and English on her Twitter page, aplogizing for "the unfortunate and tasteless joke," and explaining that it was impossible for her to believe in "discrimination between human beings and races" because she loves the Olympics.
Here's the full statement:
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.
My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races.
I would like to apologize to all my friends and fellow athletes, who I may have insulted or shamed, the National Team, as well as the people and companies who support my athletic career. Finally, I would like to apologize to my coach and my family.
The BBC reports that her coach, George Pomaski, said the punishment was too harsh and that she had already apologized.
With Papachristou having been placed oh so delicately juuust outside the Olympic team, the new prettiest Greek competing in women's triple jump is officially Nikki Panetta. Welcome, Nikki.
[BBC // Image via AP]