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Greek Official Resigns After Olympian Sofia Bekatorou Says She Was Sexually Abused In 1998

Sofia Bekatorou

A senior official at the Greek sailing federation has stepped down following allegations of sexual abuse made by Olympic champion Sofia Bekatorou, the federation said. On Saturday, they released a statement saying that it had “immediately requested the resignation” of the person “allegedly named” by 43-year-old Bekatorou. Following which, Aristeidis Adamopoulos has quit as vice president of the Hellenic Sailing Federation (HSF). Bekatorou, without naming the person, alleged that in 1998 a member of HSF invited her to his hotel room and performed a “lewd act”. The two-time Olympic medallist added, “I said no, I repeated that I didn’t want to go on and he used fake sweet talk and said it is nothing.”

The federation claimed to be “shocked” by the allegations made by Bekatorou. The mother of two went on to say that she was 21 when she was subjected to “sexual harassment and abuse” by the senior federation member in his hotel room, during the trials for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. While the act was not consensual, Bekatorou said she kept silent in order to keep competing in the tournaments. “He said he would stop if I didn’t want it but he didn’t, no matter what I said to him,” she added, saying the alleged assault left her feeling “ashamed”.

Also Read: Inspiring:13 years after she was sexually abused, she put her attacker behind bars

On Saturday, in a statement posted on the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) website, Adamopoulos denied Bekatorou’s accusation, describing it as “false and defamatory” which prompted a social media backlash.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he “stood by” Bekatorou who suffered the “sexual violence” as a teenage athlete and it is “an act with a heavy social burden.” He also urged others to speak out like she did. “It is time to uproot the violence of those in power against anyone in a weak position,” Mitsotakis said.

https://www.facebook.com/kyriakosmitsotakis/posts/10158042323412725

Bekatorou is one of Greece’s most celebrated Olympians, she won gold at the 2004 Athens Games and bronze in Beijing four years later.

Feature Image Credit: AFP

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