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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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designcre8bodies February 11 2014 at 5:54 PM

hahaha classic

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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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planetplan February 11 2014 at 4:01 PM

Shame on any American that excuses Rodnina's post.

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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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Chris February 11 2014 at 4:32 PM

People have the right to say whatever they want...no matter how stupid they sound!

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4 replies
fernandezarthr February 12 2014 at 7:25 AM

......That's Putin hand!.......with the Banana!...........

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lflz28 February 12 2014 at 7:26 AM

"Lord Buddha once taught that effects only come from causes. And right now, the cause (of the problem) is this government."

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1 reply
Billy Rogers lflz28 February 12 2014 at 7:45 AM

...and people like yourself.

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hey Jj February 12 2014 at 7:37 AM

....I don't understand why all (use2be)middle class America doesn't see whats happened n continues to happen daily .... its sooooo clear that mr o n flock have this hidden (he wont speak openly on it)vendetta against what use to be Christian middle class America, as tho we are/were personally responsible for slavery...hes now making sure 'we' pay for it...every time he opens his mouth!!!!!!!

thank you Irina for your first tweet...'we' all know that's what you meant n still do mean, just
that you were 'made' to make this 'false apology'...like everyone else who tweets what they really
mean then take it back on a 'false apology'....we all know whats going on!

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1 reply
Billy Rogers hey Jj February 12 2014 at 7:44 AM

And you are as detestable as as your posting. We ALL know what you're about, too.

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drepke February 12 2014 at 7:51 AM

Oh the Anothny Weiner defense, that proved to be a lie.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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