by David Bloodsaw
The Huffington Post reports the lighting of the Olympic Flame was by former Olympian Irina Rodnina, who last year tweeted a doctored picture of the Obama’s with someone holding a banana superimposed over the picture. The disgustingly racist picture received much outrage when it was posted by unimaginative figure skater, who has since deleted the picture.
Immediately following the Olympic Ceremony, ABC reporter Terry Moran posted a photo of the disappearing tweet.
There was discussion from the Olympic Committee about choosing her to participate in the ceremony due to the prior tweet, but obviously Russia felt it was not a problem. Rodnina felt there was nothing wrong with her tweet and it was not racist.
As Business Insider notes, the Rodnina’s tweet was sent at at time of tension between the U.S. and Russia over military intervention in Syria.
The photo drew the ire of the outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who criticized Rodnina’s act as “outrageous behaviour, which only brings shame to her parliament and country” on Twitter. Rodnina held that there was nothing wrong with the tweet and has brushed off allegations of racism, according to The Guardian.
Russia feels that Rodnina’s accomplishment as a medal winning figure skater has larger precedent than being held accountable for sending a blatantly racist tweet. Now living in America, the 64-year-old said the freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and we have to answer for our own hang-ups. Also, IOC Chief Thomas Bach said, “Olympic games have nothing to do with politics. All of us remember her as a great athlete.”
Rodnina is considered one of Russia’s greatest athletes winning 10 World Champions in a row and winning gold in the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games. She is also a member of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia’s public chamber in 2005 and a member of his political party.
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