Former Russian figure skater Irina Rodnina on Monday claimed her Twitter account was hacked last year when she sent out a racially charged photo of President Obama.
In an English language tweet sent Monday, she said she respects the Obama family. She apologized for not clearing up the controversy earlier, saying she does not support the tweet about Obama or “racism in any form.”
My account was hacked and I should have shown better judgement in my initial response and handling of the event. (2/2)— Irina Rodnina (@IRodnina) February 10, 2014
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. (1/2)— Irina Rodnina (@IRodnina) February 10, 2014
The controversy set off by a tweet sent last September — showing a doctored photo of a man holding a banana in from of President Obama and his wife — reignited last week as she was tapped to light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, on Friday.
A previous tweet had been sent from her account defending the tweet, citing freedom of speech. The earlier tweet asserted, “it’s your problem” if anyone had issues with the tweet.
The gold medal winner is also a member of the Russian parliament and the tweet drew rebukes from U.S. officials at the time. However, the head of the Sochi organizing committee said over the weekend her pick to light the cauldron was solely based on her Olympic past.