Greek President praises Olympic gold medalist Sofia Bekatorou for breaking silence

Greek President praises Olympic gold medalist Sofia Bekatorou for breaking silence

*Content warning: This story is about sexual assault. It may contain graphic descriptions and strong language, and may be confronting and disturbing.

The President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou met with Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou on Monday at the Presidential Palace.

Bekatorou accused a sporting official of sexually assaulting her in 1998 during preparations for the Sydney Games.

She said the male official from the Hellenic Sailing Federation performed a “lewd act” after inviting her to his hotel room to discuss team preparations.

The athlete was 21 at the time. Bekatorou said she had made it clear that the act was not consensual, adding that she was left feeling “humiliated.”

This man, according to the testimony of the Olympian herself to the Prosecutor, is the current vice-president of EIO and Head of the Sports Office, Superintendent of Central Greece, Aristidis Adamopoulos.

The Athens Prosecutor ordered an in-depth investigation on the matter.

Sakellaropoulou praised the Olympic sailing champion for dissolving “a conspiracy of silence” by reporting the sexual assault.

“I hope her brave revelation will blow like a rushing wind and sweep any hypocrisy, any cover up attempt away,” Sakellaropoulou.

She added that her courage offered hope to other women who had suffered similar abuse in their personal and professional lives.

“It is time to end the guilt of the victims and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

Bekatorou said that she did not open up about her abuse at the time, fearing that it would destroy her Olympic dream and divide the Greek sailing team.

“Years later, having two children and thinking that other children would be in my place, I found the courage to speak up,” the Olympic gold medalist said.

*Bekatorou became the first female flag bearer in Greek Olympic history

Since she made the allegations, other Greek athletes have also come forward with similar accusations involving physicians decades earlier.

Retired water polo player Mania Bikof said she had been forced to roll down her bathing suit to her waist so a medic could examine a shoulder injury, while ex-swimmer Rabea Iatridou said she had been groped.

Where to find support if you have been impacted by rape, sexual assault or domestic violence: