The Greek triple jumper expelled from London 2012 after she made a racist remark on Twitter says she has been left “very bitter and upset”, admitting: “I am trying to stay calm otherwise I would lose control.”
Voula Papachristou, 23, was removed from the Greek Olympic team on Wednesday after causing uproar with the tweet about the widely reported appearance of Nile-virus-carrying mosquitoes in Athens. She wrote: “With so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food.” She subsequently deleted the message.
The Greek Olympic Committee condemned the comment as “contrary to the values and ideals of the Olympic movement”, though Papachristou’s coach and the far-right Greek Golden Dawn party were among those to attack the punishment as excessive.
Speaking for the first time since her exclusion, Papachristou said she was devastated by the decision.
“I have not slept at all and to be honest I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened. I am trying to stay calm otherwise I would lose control. I am thankful to my coach and family and so many other people who have stuck by me.