SOCHI, Russia (CBS DC) — A three-time gold medalist who lit the Sochi Olympic cauldron Friday tweeted a racist picture last year of the Obamas.
Irina Rodnina, who won the gold in women’s figure skating in the 1972, 1976 and 1980 Winter Olympics, posted a doctored picture on Twitter last September of President Barack Obama, who had a mouth-full of food, and Michelle Obama staring at a banana that is being waved at them.
The woman lighting the Olympic flame is Irina Rodnina, the woman who tweeted a shockingly racist picture of Obama with a banana.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) February 7, 2014
The Guardian reported at the time that Rodnina immediately deleted the tweet but never apologized for posting the picture.
“Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and you should answer for your own hang-ups,” she said, according to The Guardian, adding she got it from friends in the U.S.
At the time, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul called it “outrageous behavior, which only brings shame to her parliament and country.”
.@Sapronovas thank you. Outrageous behavior, which only brings shame to her parliament and country
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) September 14, 2013
The relationship with U.S. and Russia has been frayed, especially with Russia harboring former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Rodnina is currently a member of the Public Chamber of Russia.