Russian Olympic Torchbearer Blames Racist Obama Tweet on Hackers

Former figure skater Irina Rodnina now claims she is not responsible for the offensive tweet that shows President Obama chewing while a hand offers a banana.

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Vladislav Tretyak carries the Olympic torch with Irina Rodnina during the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Former figure skater Irina Rodnina, who lit the Olympic flame for the Sochi opening ceremony, is now saying that her racist Obama tweet from last year was due to hackers, The Guardian reports.

Rodnina, who now serves as a member of parliament from President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, won three Olympic gold medals in pairs skating in 1972, 1976 and 1980.

Back in September, Rodnina's account tweeted the altered photograph, which shows President Obama with his mouth fixed as if he were chewing, while a hand offers him a banana. When the tweet came to light online last week, Rodnina was initially unapologetic, citing her freedom of speech and the fact that her American friends had sent her the image.

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Irina Rodnina’s offensive tweet

Twitter

"Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and you should answer for your own hang-ups," she said, before accusing an opposition politician of bustling up the online anger.  

Now she is singing quite a different tune and on Monday tweeted in English offering her apologies and saying that she was hacked.

Read more at The Guardian.

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