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