Russian Olympian apologizes for racist Obama tweet, says account was hacked


Irina Rodnina and Vladislav Tretiak run before lighting the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. (Matt Slocum, Pool/Associated Press)

Irina Rodnina, a three-time Olympic figure skating gold medalist from Russia who lit the cauldron at the opening ceremonies of the Sochi Games last week, said Monday that a racially insensitive tweet on her Twitter account was posted by hackers.

The five-month-old tweet, which featured a banana superimposed over a picture of President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, became news again last week when Rodnina was tapped as one of two people to light the cauldron.

When the tweet first made news, Rodnina bristled at the criticism, saying it was free speech. She also said that the photo was sent to her by friends in the United States, according to the Guardian.

On Monday, she backtracked, apologizing for her reaction and saying she hadn't sent the tweet at all and that her account had been hacked.

 

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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