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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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Bob Pedersen February 11 2014 at 3:55 PM

Consider the Source!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
drepke February 12 2014 at 7:51 AM

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

Flag Reply +4 rate up
baldbiker2 February 11 2014 at 4:11 PM

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

Flag Reply +8 rate up
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.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
hockeyn109 February 11 2014 at 10:10 PM

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

Flag Reply +9 rate up
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.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
west83jazz goldwingoo7 February 11 2014 at 8:42 PM

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

Flag Reply +1 rate up
blairdurp February 11 2014 at 4:29 PM

Well, that's mature.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
Chris February 11 2014 at 4:32 PM

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

Flag Reply +6 rate up
4 replies
telvis February 11 2014 at 8:22 PM

Good excuse. And sooooo believable.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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