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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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ctcmillwork February 13 2014 at 4:17 PM

what is so racist about the picture. If they were white would it be called racist. I can't wait until Jesus come back to judge all the people who alway have to call everything racist when it come to black people

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sangerjaime@aol. February 13 2014 at 10:08 AM

I do not understand why you block my posts, when you allow so many right wing racist posts like the one below to be shown? Do I veer too far from your agenda?

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thankuprezobama February 12 2014 at 10:59 AM

Hateful, evil racists are the most ignorant people alive.
They look like fools that think they are being admired.
No, we see you as the fools you are.

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verbal007 February 12 2014 at 10:37 AM

She better look out,Obama will get IRS to go after her like he does everyone who opposes him.

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thankuprezobama February 12 2014 at 10:51 AM

You must be singing the song of the strawman........
If I Only Had A Brain!

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verbal007 February 12 2014 at 10:28 AM

That is one funny pic ! Seems no one has any respect for Obama, be it american enemies or american allies

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thankuprezobama February 12 2014 at 10:51 AM

Racist and proud.
There you go.
Ignorant and don't know it.

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cherylhum February 12 2014 at 9:21 AM

It seems as though the comments here are addressing everything but the issue. I did not vote for Obama, but the picture posted by this Russian torch bearer was completely out of line and yes, racist. Without question it infers (for those claiming they don't know why it was considered racist), that the Obamas are like monkeys, an animal symbolically linked to the black race. When we resort to name calling, which is essentially what Irina Rodnina did by posting the banana picture, we slide to the lowest common denominator, unable to use our intelligence to adequately expresses opinions worth listening to and considering.

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scorpiascorpio February 12 2014 at 3:26 PM

Very well said cherylhum.

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raldel February 12 2014 at 9:18 AM

This is the respect that the world has for our president. He earned it and so did she.

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thankuprezobama February 12 2014 at 10:55 AM

And you have earned title of jackass.

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dolphins1441 February 12 2014 at 9:16 AM

Lies! All lies!

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jamesskeagler February 12 2014 at 9:15 AM

She sounds like a liar to me. When you have a breach or hack, your response (reaction) directly after is important to the truth. "Freedom of speech is freedom"? really? Liar. By the way, just because it is freedom of speech doesn't take away the responsibility to what you say. She is a fool.

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fioanefet79 February 12 2014 at 9:12 AM

When you look at her picture, it is a very good probability that something like that is liable to come out of her thinking. If the source of the stream is dirty, you can rest assure that the rest of it will be dirty as well. They told us "Don't charge the book by its cover", but at times I find that counter productive.

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