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Olympic athletes marketing impact through social media banned 2014 Sochi games.

The first big story of the Olympics wasn’t the first gold medal winners or the underlying human rights violations but more prevalent is the hash tag #sochiproblems. As the mass majority of the worlds athletes and journalists traveled to Sochi they began to find issues as unfit amenities such as questionable toilets and yellow murky tap water in the Olympic village. The hastag quickly became popular and became a Twitter account. The account @SochiProblems has grown to 340,000 followers which makes that 120,000 more followers than the actual @Sochi2014 account.

One reason why @SochiProblems might have had such a large and quick following is because the International Olympic Committee banned on athletes and other accredited personnel from posting videos or audio of events, and competitions taking place at Olympic Venues or the Olympic Village. Also participants are allowed to post content and photos, however the IOC requires that all posts must be in first-person, diary-type format. These social media restraints are put in place for only allowing participants to communicate with friends and family and supporters, but not for commercial and advertising for possible sponsors.

The Olympics are the biggest stage for any athlete and for most, it is their time to stand out, market, and brand themselves. Social media is being used and managed to limit athletes ability to brand and sponsor themselves. We can see success in the Olympics gives participants overnight followers and in turn, future sponsors. Sage Kotesenburg is an example of having gained 43,000 followers since winning the games first gold medal in snowboarding. That’s not too bad for a kid from Park City, Utah that has been riding and snowboarding for all his life now, having the exposure and following to attract large sponsors. Also athletes that have sponsorships are not allowed to post about brands unless they have been approved by the IOC.

My opinion on the social media banned for athletes is that they should be able to further themselves, their legacy, and build their brand because there is no better time to market themselves. The social media ban was initially to limit athletes talking “smack” and for talking bad about the conditions in Sochi. However I feel with the creation and popularity of #sochiproblems the media ban was less effective and ultimately hindered athletes ability to have sponsors and market themselves.

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Team USA wins against Russia: T.J. Oshie plays hero in shoot out

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SOCHI Russia – What started off as a celebration for an entire country ended in only silence except for those fans who are brave enough to wave the US flag in enemy territory. Russia had anticipated this game for months and the way it ended was not how they expected. A shootout loss. Watch the shootout here. T.J. Oshie was the big hero on the eighth round of the shootout, followed by Jonathan Quick’s stop of Ilya Kovalchuk, to launch the epic victory for the US. This was indeed an amazing event to be watching. With the Russians scoring first, it was 1-0 when Cam Fowler attempted a shot and managed to get the puck passed the Russian goaltender on a power play. The US team finally managed to take the lead with about 10 minutes remaining in the game. It was at this point that the US team was predicted to win. However, the Russians quickly responded this time firing a shot through Quick’s legs and tied the game. Then came the controversy. When Fyodor Tyutin scored breaking the tie, the play was challenged. The referees looked at the replay and disallowed the goal because the net fell off of the moorings. This stunned the crowd including the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two teams ended up in overtime and after eight intense shootout rounds, it was Oshie who beat Bobrovski for the winning goal. The two teams respectfully shook hands on the ice and the game concluded.

Twitter fans from all over were buzzing about T.J. Oshie and his victory in the shootout. Posts range from funny meems to strong words of encouragemnent. There was even a new hashtag trending #YouJustGotOshied. @OSH74 has over 200,00 followers now. Check out some twitter responses here.

Wagner Love/Hate Twitter Relationship

Sunday, January 12 marked a historic day for figure skater Ashley Wagner as she was announced to be on the three-woman Olympic team. As much as it was an exhilarating and unforgettable moment for Wagner, it also brought much strife as she knocked out Mirai Nagase (second from right) from the team. Since then, debates were conducted on whether Wagner deserved her position due to her excellence over the past year. Following this announcement, Wagner then decided to take a halt on the social media platforms due to the increase of negativity being thrust down upon her.

Twitter is a blessing and a curse at the same time,” Wagner said, according to the magazine. “It’s tough to filter out the good things that you hear and the awful things that people will write, so I’m going cold turkey.”

According to Nick Zaccardi from Olympic Sports Talk , Wagner was the most followed U.S Olympics figure skater of 2014 on Twitter so I can only imagine the disappointment in her fans when she decided to give up Twitter. Although, she did continue to thank her followers and supporters while in Sochi. get-attachment

This alone makes me admire this Olympian even more because she held her head high despite the negativity that was brought on her. Wagner used the criticism as motivation which could have been her downfall in Sochi. Wagner may have placed fourth in the championships, but I believe her merits throughout the year gave her the right to the position on the team.

It was on my mind with the media frenzy over the last couple of weeks that I needed to prove to myself and everybody else that has even doubted my belonging here that I am here to compete, to be competitive.”

Currently, Wagner is back to Twitter and has been recapping her time in Sochi as well as giving support to other athletes still competing. So where will this leave Wagner now? Do you think she will continue her career in figure skating? Do you think she will pursue the next winter Olympics? Or, do you think if she does pursue them, will she avoid social media for the entirety of her time there?