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This Greek Sailing Champion Said She Was Sexually Assaulted By An Official And Started A #MeToo Wave

Greek Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou has spoken out about how she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a top sailing official when she was 21.

In an interview in December, 43-year-old Bekatorou, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said a senior official at Greece’s sailing federation sexually assaulted her in a hotel room in 1998 during the Sydney Olympics’ qualifying trials.

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Greek gold medalist Sofia Bekatorou (R) and Aimillia Tsoulfa show off their medals on 21 August 2004 for the Women’s Double-handed dinghy-470 at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. (Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

“I said no. I repeated I didn’t want to go on, and he used fake sweet talk and said it is nothing and trying to be funny,” she said during an online conference on Jan. 14, CNN reported. “He said he would stop if I didn’t want it but he didn’t, no matter what I said to him. Crying and feeling ashamed I left the room when he finished and removed himself from me.”

Bekatorou, the first woman flag bearer for Greece at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said she had remained silent because she didn’t want to jeopardize her career at the time.

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Sofia Bekatorou of Greece carries her country’s flag during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

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

She initially didn’t name her alleged abuser but later identified him as Aristeidis Adamopoulos, a senior official at the Hellenic Sailing Federation.

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Sofia Bekatorou, Sofia Papadopoulou and Virginia Kravarioti of Greece celebrate finishing third overall during day 9 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 17, 2008 in Qingdao, China. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Adamopoulos already resigned on Jan. 16 to protect the integrity of the federation, according to the BBC.

He has denied the allegations and called them “false and defamatory.”

After Bekatorou came forward, numerous athletes have voiced their support, with others sharing their own experiences with sexual harassment and abuse with the hashtag #MeTinSofia and #MeToo.

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Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou (R) meets with Olympic sailing champion Sofia Bekatorou, on January 18, 2021 at the Presidential Palace in Athens, following Bekatorou’s statements on being sexually assaulted by a sailing federation’s official in 1998. (Photo by ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The country’s first woman president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, also showed her support, saying Bekatorou had dissolved a potential “conspiracy of silence.”

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