The first athletes sent home at the Athens Olympics were Greek. Sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou were accused of intentionally staging a motorbike accident to avoid the mandatory pre-event drug test. 

Her Olympic dream came down with a crash. Photo: The Australian

The first athlete to be sent home from these games is also a Greek athlete, but instead of being doped up, she was just being a dope, and not a very nice one that.

Triple jumper Voula Papachristou was sent home last Thursday after mocking African migrants on her Twitter account. It was a stupid mistake made which has cost Papchristou her chance to compete at the Olympics, and she took to Twitter to post her apology in English:

“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.”

Last night Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella was also expelled from the London Games. After using his Twitter account to make offensive comments about the South Korean team, calling them “bunch of mongoloids” that should be “burned.” 

Charming. Not to mention disappointing. You’d like to think that the Olympics would be a forum to promote better relations between counties and cultures, not a platform for flouting of racist bad sportsmanship. 

Even more beguiling is the fact these athletes would choose to take these kinds of risks. Right from the outset, the IOC have been spruiking their strict social media guidelines for athletes in the London Games.

Up until now the most controversial has been “Rule 40”, the section that bans athletes from using social media to promote their sponsors during the London Games. 

As it turns out they probably should have also included a section on how to compete and communicate respectfully.

Follow me on Twitter: @lucyjk

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64 comments

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    • Mahhrat says:

      11:59am | 31/07/12

      I think the term we’re looking for is “professionalism”, and it is certainly not to much to expect when simply shutting the hell up is an easy alternative.

    • liam says:

      09:40am | 01/08/12

      id love to see the photo of her from the other angle,any chance of that

    • ?? says:

      11:59am | 31/07/12

      if you have nothing nice or good to say (or write), then shut the %&$@ up. its really that simple

    • AndrewS says:

      10:42am | 01/08/12

      didn’t you just contradict your own statement?

    • Gladys says:

      12:00pm | 31/07/12

      The thing is, athletes are not trained to be clever. They’re trained to be fast or the best.

      Add Twitter and it’s a recipe for disaster.

    • Rose says:

      11:21pm | 31/07/12

      They are heavily trained in social media and what is and isn’t appropriate though, so none of them can plead ignorance. Even if they weren’t, hasn’t there been enough athletes held to account already to give these people a good enough example of what not to do?

    • chuck says:

      12:00pm | 31/07/12

      What about Toula, Roula and Agapi then?

    • Con says:

      01:15pm | 31/07/12

      You forgot Soula…...ahhhh coupla days….....

    • John L says:

      01:20pm | 31/07/12

      When I pictured Con the Fruiterer’s daughters I wasn’t picturing THAT!!

    • Emma says:

      12:09pm | 31/07/12

      I dont believe those apologies for one second. Obviously they spoke their mind and then had to face the consequences and were made to apologise. I dont even think they phrased the apologies on their own.
      It kind of shows that the Olympic spirit is nothing but the attempt to cover up underlying negative sentiments. I like the idea of leaving politics aside and focussing on sports. Unfortunately its not that easily done in real life. When I watched the ceremony and saw Suadi Arabia present their first female athlete I was a bit miffed as well. I cannot watch the news first and then switch to “we are all friends” mood when watching the Olympics.

    • HappyG says:

      12:53pm | 31/07/12

      Interesting to note that she apologised to everyone, sponsors , team mates, family etc. The one group she didn’t say sorry to were the people she insulted. So in essence not really an apology at all. Oh well if she was any smarter she wouldn’t be jumping around in a sand pit.

    • M says:

      12:11pm | 31/07/12

      No sympathy for them.

    • Ian Campbell says:

      12:17pm | 31/07/12

      When you look at it, the doping, bitching, corporate money melding, cheating, lies, bribes etc., just seem to get worse every four years. Now days the Olympics are just a mirror of everyday life.

    • Babylon in Canberra says:

      12:33pm | 31/07/12

      I’ve heard worse racist language on the Punch.

      Usually from Lefties who think because they are posing as the saviour of none whites, for the purposes of politicking, that gives them licence to use racist terms.

      You see when you’ve been a victim of racism, you no longer want to hear racist language in any form. Not in a joke, not in an interesting story and certainly not in a discussion to try an gag the opposing argument.

      I would also like to say that the use of racist language does not necessarily mean that person is a racist. Some people just do not know the impact of words.

      I think treatment of the Greek athlete was harsh.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      12:58pm | 31/07/12

      Harsh?? ..She got what she deserved.. Twitter and other such forums make it to easy to say whatever a person wants!...You can’t come back later and say OOP’s sorry.

    • pa_kelvin says:

      01:01pm | 31/07/12

      Foot-note she had to pyhsically type her tweet,surely enough time to ask herself whether to send it or not??

    • Your Opinion says:

      01:31pm | 31/07/12

      Quite correct Babylon, but we live in a society driven by leftists who are only too quick to be offended by everything and who themselves are frequently racist, but when you are white you can never be the victim of racism.  EVERY other race is racist, yet nothing is ever said, if you are any other colour other than white you can racially abuse without repercussion.

    • fml says:

      03:25pm | 31/07/12

      Do any of you actually know what she said?

      What she said was terrible, only modern day chip on the shoulder victimised rationalism some how can twist saying something racist is not racist. Sure there are certain situations where innocuous comments are taken out of context, but this is definitely not one of them.

    • firefly says:

      04:59pm | 31/07/12

      .....and here comes the punches resident muslim/multicultural appologist fml frothing at the mouth in indignation.I love it. smile  Dont you have a refugee centre to protest out the front of somewhere fml..?  smile

    • fml says:

      05:22pm | 31/07/12

      firefly,

      if I support refugees and multiculturalism why would i protest outside one? You really are known for thinking things through are you?

    • firefly says:

      05:52pm | 31/07/12

      Think about it fml. I am sure a ‘smart’ cookie like yourself can eventually work it out. smile

    • Andrew says:

      08:04pm | 31/07/12

      Exactly what was racist FML, bad taste yes, racist no way.

    • fml says:

      08:47am | 01/08/12

      Andrew,

      I doubt you think anything is racist. At least you people in are in the majority. The denial of it is staggering. Nothing is ever racist to you lot and you expect everyone to think you are rational. I am tired of the narcissistic attitude prevalent in society today, where someone can say something horrible, disrespectful and down right nasty and absolve themselves of blame, I am betting you are one of these people.

      Firefly,
      It makes no sense to protest against something you believe in, absolutely no sense at all. maybe in your mind you may feel you can make incomprehensible comments and through a feeling of self superiority expect everybody else to understand it. well done chappy.

    • liam says:

      08:56am | 01/08/12

      too many people so easily offended,get a grip its the world we live in and no amount of money or time or effort will stop racism in sport or life in general,stop crying and accept it.right or wrong it will always be there

    • Jasmine says:

      01:46pm | 31/07/12

      I find it hilarious when celebrities or sports people self-destruct on Twitter or Facebook. They just don’t get it. Pure arrogance, and pure ignorance.

    • Slammin Sam says:

      05:13pm | 31/07/12

      She’s pretty hot, I think she’ll be okay.

    • Toscanunan says:

      01:50pm | 31/07/12

      Here is the offending tweet: ‘With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!’ .

      I have read this through a few times now and I really can’t see what is so racist about this. To me a racist comment is one which puts down someone based on their race. Can someone please explain (!) where in this comment Africans are being put down for being Africans?

      Nothing should have happened to this girl, sending her home from the Olympics is extremely unjust and yet another example of Political Correctness gone mad. She has my sympathy.

    • ladybuglauren says:

      03:13pm | 31/07/12

      I agree. It was a wierd thing to write, but ‘there are a lot of African people in Greece’ isn’t racist. It isn’t anything, just an observation. Over-reaction from (I’d bet) non-African people who were in line to be offended on behalf of others. Talk about your non-events.

    • fml says:

      03:32pm | 31/07/12

      Because it isn’t true and it does put them down because of their race, your ignorance doesn’t excuse what she said. And if you don’t get it, Africans are not food for mosquitoes.

      I mean seriously, when someone says all Australian’s are racist, you get up in arms, why? because its a generalisation and it isn’t true, why can’t the same logic be applied here?

    • fml says:

      03:51pm | 31/07/12

      ladybuglauren,

      No it isn’t an over reaction, the African athletes are there to compete, they are not there as mosquito fodder. Maybe you do not understand what the meaning of disrespectful is? I will tell you, our athletes train heavily and are respected, the african athletes train extensively, but are considered mosquito fodder, just because they are african.

      Get it? No, Somehow I don’t think you will.

    • FML is funny says:

      03:51pm | 31/07/12

      hahahaha @FML - Africans are not food for mosquitos - must be the only humans on the planet that aren’t….!!!

    • Tim says:

      03:53pm | 31/07/12

      FML,
      how is it putting them down?

      Everyone is food for mosquitoes, they drink your blood. How is it offensive or racist to say so?

      It’s meant to be a joke, fair enough you might not find it funny, but it could only be offensive to the most thin skinned individual.

    • Sickemrex says:

      04:01pm | 31/07/12

      I didn’t even understand what she was saying initially. Would it be racist of me to say there are a lot of Greeks in Melbourne?

    • fml says:

      04:30pm | 31/07/12

      “Africans are not food for mosquitos - must be the only humans on the planet that aren’t” thats kinda the point she was inferring the african athletes were not there to compete but only as a food source for insects.

      Tim,

      “Everyone is food for mosquitoes, they drink your blood. How is it offensive or racist to say so?” Thats the point, as i said above the african athletes are there to compete, apparently some people think they are only suitable to be there as food for the mosquitoes and offer nothing else.

    • Tim says:

      04:49pm | 31/07/12

      Fml,
      I thought it was about Africans (not necessarily athletes) in Greece not London?

    • fml says:

      04:54pm | 31/07/12

      Sickemrex,

      No it wouldt until you say that they are food for insects. which is the part you left out.

    • fml says:

      05:42pm | 31/07/12

      well either way she is saying that africans are unwelcome in greece. She supports a parliament member who punched a woman in the face. The greek olympic committee made a decision that would be best for the country. Greece and the rest of the world owes her nothing. She has to learn to take responsibility for her actions.

    • Chopper knows says:

      06:16pm | 31/07/12

      Let’s not kid yourself here, the comment was very racist indeed if you think about it. When it come’s to racism in sport it always comes down to a loser that can’t say anything else but to make a racist remark and that is the precedent these leaders have to face. Examples here include plenty…South korea beating Switzerland and then the Swiss person makes racist remarks. Anton Ferdinand kept on bitching on John Terry about his affair with his teammates wife and finally there was nothing else he could say except to say he was black. This Greece women 8th in her sport is obviously up against africans who are physically superior then the greeks so therefore its another low shot about their colour. Samuel Etto the great Cameroon forwardwhen playing for Barca was insulted by the opposing Spanish teams fans, well of course, there isnt any Spanish players of that standard of Etto so they got to make Monkey chants. Its always the losers that can’t come up with anything else to make a low shot like that, its sad really but I guess justice is done in the end for these losers in the end…

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      06:29pm | 31/07/12

      But fml, others have been over this already, they are food for mosquitos like everyone else. What a ridiculous and petty thing to be sent home for. ‘There are a lot of X people in X country’ is not a racist statement, but an observation. The second part of the statement, about being mosquito food, to me reads as an extension of the first part, in that there are many Africans in Greece (hence the home made food reference of West Nile mosquitos as opposed to Greek ones). Definitely sounds like some uppity, guilt ridden white folk with poor comprehension skills being offended on behalf of others again. Further, she does not say that Africans are unwelcome in Greece, just that there are many Africans in Greece, which there are. Who she supports and where is irrelevant. The real dopes here are those sending her home, what a joke.

    • Andrew says:

      08:10pm | 31/07/12

      I take a lot more offence to tossers like FML who take offence and cry racist at every opportunity. Its a joke a bad joke proberly in bad taste but not racist.

    • fml says:

      08:39am | 01/08/12

      Admiral,

      “hers have been over this already, they are food for mosquitos like everyone else. What a ridiculous and petty thing to be sent home for.”

      And I have been over it too, she wasn’t talking about everybody being food for everyone else, only africans. Only africans are apparently food for mosquitoes. No its’s not a stupid thing, people like you think the world is owed to them, and you can go around saying what ever the bloody well you want and expect people to pay you for it. No, the greek government paid her to train and uphold the olympic idea of unity between nations, she broke her oath and she was punished. if she wanted to go around saying shit like that, fine, just dont sign up for an organisation that promotes unity. It’s pretty simple, why would I sign up to an organisation, get paid by them to run around all day then go against what they stood for?

      Andrew,

      Well people like you think nothing is racist, you think you can go and spout your mouth off at every little thing with no consequences, its just an arrogant attitude which is quite prevalent in society nowadays.

    • Hartz says:

      02:02pm | 31/07/12

      What a load of crap - who ever wins the gold in her event will never know if they were the best or simply let off the hook by this girls foot in mouth moment…. This PC Bollocks is getting ridiculous..!!! It was a joke, not a particularly funny one but it was a joke…!!! If everyone who told an Irish joke got kicked off the Aussie team there’d be no one left…!!!

    • Hartz says:

      03:34pm | 31/07/12

      An Irishman, a muslim and a Catholic priest walk into a bar…... AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH oh my god - I must be a racist….!!!! what a load of hot poppycock..!!!

    • Steve says:

      03:56pm | 31/07/12

      Given that Papachristou has only the 8th longest triple jump in the world this year, she had s.f.a. chance of winning. I doubt whoever wins will lose any sleep over the fact she wasn’t in the field.

    • BruceS says:

      02:26pm | 31/07/12

      It has been my experience that the most racist people, are the anti-racist activists.

    • fml says:

      03:27pm | 31/07/12

      That is absolute bullshit, you are as much of a racist for pointing out racism as you are a criminal for reporting crime. It’s this pseudo reverse victim mentality that is going to be the ruin of the country more than any PC rhetoric.

    • Babylon in Canberra says:

      03:35pm | 31/07/12

      I’d say they are the worst.

      If someone comes up to you and says ’ I don’t like your lot’, well at least you know where you stand. Later when they say ‘You’re alright’ you know they are on their way to saying ‘they are all alright.’

      However, the Anti Racist works without reference or recourse to anyones wishes but their own. They make things worse in the community by going on and on. Then when they have a bad experience with a non white person, they turn, quick as. You never know where you stand with them.

    • Dave says:

      02:34pm | 31/07/12

      The only real way around this is a blanket ban on social media for all athletes in the lead up and during the games.  It is a pity, as this is a nice window into a very raw and emotionally charged event - sharing someone’s journey as they emerge as one of the best people on the planet in what they do.  Pity it has to be blanded down and strained through the spin doctors but I don’t see a lot of choice.

      Expecting young, inexperienced and variably intelligent athletes suddenly shoved into a blinding glare of publicity and going through one of the most stressful experiences of their lives not to stuff it up, be misinterpreted or say something really offensive is probably a bit much.  Add in imperfect english & translations and the recipe for disaster is complete.

      To some extent we need to get a bit less precious, and find something for the Media to do before the Games kick off - but at the end of the day Olympians represent their country and have a duty to put their own views aside during the time they wear the tracksuit.

      It would be a pity to see a lot of talented and basically decent youngsters ending their careers with a few careless seconds on their smartphone.

    • I like chicken says:

      02:48pm | 31/07/12

      ‘With so many Africans in Greece, at least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made food!’
      Hmmm????
      Was there any KFC involved?
      I don’t know…i guess its a Greek thing…

    • Mark G says:

      03:13pm | 31/07/12

      Has anyone else noticed that it is only the dumb western countries that are having athletes sent home over this kind of thing. There are countries that are part of the Olympic games that are actively racist. In fact there are countries where racism is government policy. What about defiant countries like North Korea that actively promote the superiority of their athletes based on their warped socialist ideals? Does anyone seriously expect an Anglo-Saxon to represent North Korea? What about countries like India who because of their Caste system will disproportionately allocate funds and even actively discriminate in regard to the support that they provide their athletes based on their social standing or birth place. What about sexist comments? Most of the Middle East actively discriminates against women. What if an international athlete makes sexist comments that would be considered acceptable in the middle east? Do you send them home. What about anti-Semitic comments by an athlete from Iran. I am not saying I agree with racist or sexist comments but policing racism at an event that includes countries that are known to have racist and sexist governments is a very slippery slope. A lot of these political decision are based on western democratic ideals (and political correctness) which is fine if the event is only staged for western democratic countries. What do you think would happen is and Iranian athlete posted anti-Semitic comments on twitter. Would he be sent back to Iran. I doubt it and you cant have one rule for some and one rule for others. You also cant have a rule that says ‘athletes cannot make racist statements on twitter unless those statement are policies and beliefs of you home country’. In reality the Olympics should be kept a-political. This means just ignoring athletes that make politically inappropriate statements. Otherwise there is a very slippery slope to the Olympics becoming one big political statement that marginalises certain fringe countries and that is not what the Olympics is supposed to be.

    • Kayleigh says:

      04:57pm | 31/07/12

      Why are you assuming that an Iranian athlete that posted a racist comment on twitter wouldn’t be sent home? Is there any precedent which suggests that they are policing things this way? My guess is no, there isn’t.

      Furthermore, while the athletes may be representing their countries in their sports, that doesn’t mean they are representing their countries ideals or their Government’s policies. When Russia invaded Georgia during the 2008 Olympics, the athletes had no involvement in it, so clearly they wouldn’t be pulled from their events. The difference in this case is that the athletes who are banned (whether rightly or wrongly isn’t the point here) were banned because they said something deemed inappropriate, which they had complete control over.

    • chopper knows says:

      06:01pm | 31/07/12

      @Mark G, if a South Korean player went on twister and wrote ” them stupid swatch watch nazi wannabes etc etc” and the african guy wrote on twister ” them hairy saganaki eating bitches etc etc”..i’m sure they would be sent home too..it’s just that in the current world we live in..there just isn’t any racist ideology forwarded to the clean cut swiss and Grease people…

    • Mike says:

      03:38pm | 31/07/12

      Screw a few comments on twitter, a lot of other countries taking part in the games have racism basically institutionalised, why are they allowed to show up to the Games at all? It’s ironic that one guy got in trouble for the tweet on South Koreans, because South Koreans talk the same way about other people, it just flies under the radar because they don’t speak English, and aren’t white.

    • Swamp Thing says:

      04:35pm | 31/07/12

      Either all races are “sacred” and off limits to jest or critique, or none of them are. It is becoming just a bit too Stalinist in the western world when an off the cuff, off colour remark can see a professional career destroyed.  I have nothing but contempt for these self appointed ‘witch finders general’ of ‘racism. They are ten a penny these days & as has been noted by a previous poster, are quick to ‘turn’ with equal zealotry when they unexpectedly suffer at the hands of one of those they worship.

    • fml says:

      04:58pm | 31/07/12

      That’s the point she wasn’t exactly being professional, she is being paid by greece, who obviously are in a little financial difficulty, she signed to uphold certain values and increase the identity of greece at the olympics, she did the opposite, so she was punished, not too difficult to figure out.

      What happened to professionalism? 99.9% of the athletes seem to be able to go there and be respectful, why cant she?

    • Cobbler says:

      04:43pm | 31/07/12

      Since when does being racist have anything to do with how far you can jump?

      I’ll never understand the pedestal we put young sportspeople on.

    • Ben Matlock says:

      05:18pm | 31/07/12

      Exactly.

      Who cares what she wrote? Unless it was murder, then I’d want Jessica Fletcher on the case!!

    • Andrew says:

      08:19pm | 31/07/12

      We have countrys completing that openly support anti seminism, countrys that openly faunt human rights and openly discriminate against sections of there populations. Country that suppress and starve there people, but thats fine. But train your arse off for 4 years and make a joke about mosquitos eating home cooking and your gone, go figure.

    • AndrewS says:

      10:52am | 01/08/12

      You can send an athlete home. Can you imagine them sending a country home? But you make a good point. Perhaps Sri Lanka shouldn’t have been allowed to compete due to their recent war crimes - but then you are punishing the people for their dictators’ crimes..

    • Andrew says:

      04:20pm | 01/08/12

      Thyey are representing there country not themselves, the country is paying for them to compete not them personally. But my main point is that the greek girl was sent home for supposedly being racist, but there are many people completing at the games who support there governments positions on things, things that are openly racist, bigoted or oppressive.

    • Jay says:

      11:09am | 01/08/12

      Her comments are very symptomatic of what many Greeks feel. Illegal immigration in Greece has excarcibated the already crippling financial woes the country is experiencing. They are now building a fence along their borders to stop any further illegal immigration.If the boats keep coming rest assured many Australians attitude will change and the same rascist taunts/comments will start.

    • fml says:

      11:37am | 01/08/12

      Not really, If her sentiments correlate to her political party (the far right golden dawn) then it’s only equivalent to 7% of the greek population. Oh, may I also remind you that one of the politicians for that party, punched a woman news presenter in the face on live tv. At least we know what you aspire to.

    • Andrew says:

      04:30pm | 01/08/12

      You are a hyprocrite of the highest order fml, are you seriously going to start suspending athletics because of there political beliefs. Then why are athletics from most arab nations allowed to compete, most of these countrys would be happy to see israel blown off the map, many treat there woman as second class citizens, and dont even acknowledge homosexuals. Many harbour known terrorists. North Korea openly starve there people, why feeding all the big cats. India treatment of there lower caste is no better then slaves. Many other nations commit atrocities against there minorities. But somehow you overlook all of this, do you really believe that a large number of these athletics representing these countrys dont hold the same beliefs as there government.

 

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