Now that the 2014 Winter Olympic games are over, it is clear that Sochi not only set the stage for athletes to be watched during their events; the eyes were also now on social media. From simple selfies, wolf hoaxes, being trapped in bathrooms, and everything in between, the social media presence was one that has never been seen before for an Olympic games.
If you were not paying particular attention to the games, you might think that “being trapped in bathrooms” was a misprint, but it definitely happened. U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn was taking a shower and when the door either became locked or jammed, trapping the Olympian inside. Quinn then “used his bobsled push training” to escape from the bathroom, destroying the door to escape. The bobsledder took to Twitter to share his experience, saying “I knew when I posted that photo I’d probably get a couple of retweets, a couple of funny comments, but nothing to the extent of what has happened.” The post has received tens of thousands of favorites and retweets, making Quinn an overnight viral sensation.
Ski slopestyle silver medalist Gus Kenworthy also made a splash on Twitter, with maybe the biggest “aww” moment of the Olympics, especially for dog lovers. Kenworthy posted pictures of himself with stray dogs, with one in particular gaining attention. The picture is of him sleeping with his medal that he earned, and one of the puppies that he is adopting, Rosa, draped on his chest. Kenworthy as since finalized arrangements to adopt five dogs from Sochi, four puppies and their mother. Between winning the silver medal, and all of the great publicity from his Twitter, Kenworthy had himself an Olympics to remember.
It was not only the newcomers that added to their followers, however. U.S. hockey player T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues, who had the big shootout performance against Russia, saw himself become an even bigger and more recognized star in the hockey world, gaining 130,000 followers since his performance.
The unique combination of social media and the Olympics this year has propelled many athletes into the worldwide spotlight, whether they won multiple medals or none at all. This shows the great impact that social media has had on sports, and most other topics in the world.