Voula Papachristou, wearing the uniform she thought she'd wear to London (Photo : Facebook)
In the run-up to her expulsion from the London Olympics, Paraskevi "Voula" Papachristou was apologetic for the controversy caused by her racially insensitive tweet ("So many Africans in Greece at least West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food."), seeming to understand why it had caused offence.
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But since the Hellenic Olympic Committee has announced the decision to exclude her from competing citing "comments that go against to the values and ideals of Olympism", the triple jumper, 23, has spoken of herself as the injured party, seeming dazed and angry by turns.
"I have not slept at all and to be honest I am still trying to come to terms with what has happened," she told Reuters. "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."
She continued, "After so many years of hurt and sacrifices to try and get to my first Olympics I am very bitter and upset. But what has upset me the most is the excessive reaction and speed of the disciplinary decision."
"I don't know if they want to make an example out of me because of my profile, this is for others to judge, but what I believe is that they used their maximum disciplinary power on me for this," Reuters quotes her as saying. "They went straight to the final stage in excluding me from the team, which was highly excessive."
She also lambasted the Greek state for failing to properly support its athletes, particularly since the country's austerity measures have taken hold.
"For example, there is no heating and no hot water even to take a shower in winter, air conditioning in the summer and squalid training facilities and equipment in a state of disrepair," she said.
She indicated that she has no intention of giving up her triple jump career.
"The only thing I know is to compete in athletics to the best of my ability and that has been shown in my performances so far in my career," she said. "I believe I am a good, kind and also strong character. I will get over this and give my answers in my future performances. That is all I want to say on that."
She then wished her teammates well and said she hopes they can do their best to "show that the Greek spirit has no limits."