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Rodnina cites hacked Twitter account for racist Obama picture

MOSCOW (AP) - She lit the Olympic cauldron. Now she's trying to put out a different kind of fire.

Three-time Olympic figure skating champion Irina Rodnina is responding after a doctored, racially charged photograph posted to her Twitter account in September went viral among Western users.

On Monday, Rodnina said her Twitter account had been hacked at the time she posted the photograph, which depicts President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama with their mouths full, staring at a banana that has been digitally inserted into the frame.

"I respect the Obama family and apologize for not clearly stating earlier that I don't support the tweeted photo or racism in any form," Rodnina wrote in English on Twitter. "My account was hacked and I should have shown better judgment in my initial response and handling of the event."

That was far different from Rodnina's previously flippant answer to Russian critics, who condemned her for the post in September. "Freedom of speech is freedom! Answer for your own hang-ups!" she responded.

On Saturday, Rodnina's Russian-American daughter Alyona Minkovski wrote on Twitter that her mother was "neither a racist nor a homophobe" but did not deny Rodnina had tweeted the photo, which she called "insensitive." International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams has defended the selection of Rodnina as torchbearer, saying she was chosen for "what she's done in sport," not her politics.

Sensitivity to racial issues is not widespread in Russia, where football fans occasionally toss bananas onto the field when African players are present. But Rodnina, who now lives primarily in Russia and has a seat in parliament as a member of Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, has spent many years living in the United States.

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pandocommando24 February 11 2014 at 3:55 PM

I've been to football (soccer) matches where fans have thrown banana's at African players.....this is what this image captures. I'm not a fan of Obama but this is low!

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1 reply
campbell1221 pandocommando24 February 11 2014 at 4:35 PM

Yeah sure you have ...NOT

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sweed7 February 12 2014 at 1:06 AM

The earlier tweet from her and the one from her daughter acknowledge that it was her funny tweet.
Putin doesn't respect Obama so why should she. Funny way to show her feeling about Obama. She should have just let it stand and not be hypocritical about it.

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1 reply
djsefcik sweed7 February 12 2014 at 1:20 AM

Look at those two faces, wouldn't you feed them a banana? I would.

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1 reply
JOANN djsefcik February 12 2014 at 1:40 AM

you are a disrespectful pig. you must make your family proud.

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ranm856 February 11 2014 at 4:06 PM

sure it was hacked lol

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baldbiker2 February 11 2014 at 4:11 PM

Twitter.....the communication tool of idiots.

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1 reply
strohs3748 baldbiker2 February 11 2014 at 4:18 PM

biker..... great comment. And I would put Twitter and Facebook (plus a few other similar "social" engines in the same category. A lot of f...ing idiots out there.

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hockeyn109 February 11 2014 at 10:10 PM

Everyone has a right to their own ideas, no matter how asinine they may be, unfortunately.

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lionpisces February 11 2014 at 4:24 PM

What is the big deal about racism? The color or your skin does not matter. It is character. There are many people I don't care to associate with not because of color but because of behavior, and there is no hate for those people. A lot depends on how much they want to do to improve their lot in life. Everybody can find a way to better themselves--to change their repulsive behavior, such as loud, rude, boisterous, crude actions. Also, cleanliness is important. Wash your body, wash your hair, wash you clothes.

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goldwingoo7 February 11 2014 at 8:39 PM

Scratch a Russian and you find a Tartar. Russians don't like the fact that they were the only White Nation to be conquered and ruled by non-whites (Mongols) and the first white nation to lose a modern war to nonwhites (Japan). Get over your racism it won't change a thing in how the West see you and God bless you for ridding the earth of the Nazi scurge who considered you subhuman.

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1 reply
west83jazz goldwingoo7 February 11 2014 at 8:42 PM

Furthermore,they didn't win the war in Afghanistan.

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kip February 12 2014 at 8:45 AM

it is obvious to every one, that most foreign countries think obama is a joke, he is mocked in newspapers on a regular basis. it seems that none of these countries respect him nor trust him, or believe that he has the experience necessary to run the most powerful country in the world. After this fiasco with nobama care, and all the blatent lies that have been spoken, the way the Bengazi incedent was handeled, is there any doubt in anyones mind that their beliefs are well founded.

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1 reply
evnsaffl kip February 12 2014 at 10:25 AM

Worse, Benghazi was not handled. The murder of 4 Americans was totally IGNORED.

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kattee666 February 11 2014 at 8:33 PM

I guess most Russians (and about 1/2 of all Americans) do not understand or have never heard of the "Golden Rule". It is a good rule to live by, even if you do not particularly like or approve of someone. People have never been civilized, and we will never be civilized until we can learn to respect each other for our differences, and learn to look for the good within ourselves.

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blairdurp February 11 2014 at 4:29 PM

Well, that's mature.

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