In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Twitter was still gaining a steady following throughout the world. Nowadays, the social media website has become a valiant force. Millions of people access Twitter every day of their lives to share their agendas, beliefs, and thoughts with the rest of the world – and Olympic athletes are no exception to this trend. Thousands of them utilize the popular social media site to bridge the communication between themselves and their loyal, devoted fans. Yet, just as Twitter has gotten many celebrities and public figures in trouble, it is also getting a number of Olympic athletes in a great deal of hot water. Below are three athletes who should have thought twice before tweeting out their risqué thoughts.
Swiss soccer player Michael Morganella took his upset feelings to Twitter after losing a 2-1 match against South Korea. His tweet was quite harsh and direct, stating that South Koreans “can go burn” and referred to them as a “bunch of mongoloids.” As you can imagine, the Swiss Olympic team was less than impressed with Morganella’s comments and ended up stripping him of his Olympic accreditation. In case you aren’t aware, the International Olympic Committee’s code of conduct requires that all athletes show mutual respect for one another. Before the athlete was sent home to Switzerland for his viral tweet, he released a statement saying, “I am sincerely sorry for the people of South Korea, for the players, but equally for the Swiss delegation and Swiss football in general. It’s clear that I’m accepting the consequences.” Yet the damage was already done, and it’s probably wise Morganella keep his tweets to himself for a few weeks.
Hope Solo (twitter.com/hopesolo)
U.S. soccer goalie Hope Solo had to meet with her coaches over a spat with NBC broadcaster Brandi Chastain. Solo’s Twitter comments came following the U.S. team’s defeat of Colombia in a 3-0 match. Chastain is a former professional soccer player, and when the sports critic tweeted some criticism of the U.S.’s performance, Solo responded to her tweet saying, ” “the game has changed from a decade ago,” and that Chastain should hold off on tweeting her comments “until [she gets] more educated.” Although Solo won’t be removed from the Olympic soccer team for her unkind words, her coaches made sure to state that she will be more cautious in her future Olympic tweets.
Greek Olympic athlete Voula Papachristou was suspended from the Olympics last week for tweeting this racist, offensive comment: “With so many Africans in Greece, the West Nile mosquitoes will be getting home food!!!” Although the Greek athlete insisted her tweet was merely a joke, hardly anybody thought it was funny. Papachristou was the first athlete to be suspended from the 2012 Olympic Games, and I suspect there may be more to come given the way the council is cracking down on Olympic athletes’ remarks. She took to her Facebook to apologize, saying, “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.”
Twitter is an exciting tool that unites people from around the globe – much like the Olympic Games. And even though it is a wonderful tool for athletes to access to stay in touch with their greatest fans, it comes with some implied self-discipline. Here’s to hoping we don’t see too many more athletes ending up in hot water over their tweets!
About Author: Stephanie Brooks is a freelance writer and blogger who mostly enjoys covering all things education, including online universities and traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. When she’s not writing, she can be found at the gym working out to Zumba and cooking healthy recipes at home. She welcomes your feedback.