25/07/2012 16:26 BST

Greek Olympian Voula Papachristou Expelled For 'Racist' Tweets

A Greek Olympic athlete has been expelled from the national Olympic team for 'racist' remarks on Twitter.

Triple jump champion Voula Papachristou had travelled to London with the Greek team, but caused a storm on Twitter with offensive comments on African immigrants to Greece.

She also apparently retweeted far-right politician Ilias Kasidiaris, of the Golden Dawn party, when he criticised Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's stance on immigration.

After followers objected to her first tweet, Papachristou promptly replied:

"I apologise if I insulted people! I have no mingling with politics!!! I am only Athlete!!”

Papachristou later published a longer apology, in English, where she said: "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 apologise 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 apologise to my coach and my family."

President of the Hellenic Olympic Committee Isidoros Kouvelos took the decision to expel her from the team "for statements contrary to the values and ideas of the Olympic movement".

Outbreaks of the West Nile virus, a disease transmitted by mosquitos, have affected around 180 people in Athens this summer