SOCHI – The biggest winners of the 2014 Winter Olympics weren't just found on the medal stand. Whether they were tweeting about wolf hoaxes, #sochiproblems and bacon gold medals or just posting selfies on Instagram from all over the Olympic venues, a bunch of athletes became even bigger stars on social media.
"I knew when I posted that photo I'd probably get a couple of retweets, a couple of funny comments," U.S. bobsledder Johnny Quinn said. "But nothing to the extent of what has happened."
One day after the opening ceremony, Quinn tweeted out a photo of his broken hotel bathroom door, which he had to smash a hole in after he became locked inside. The tweet ended up receiving over 29,000 retweets. It also got him his own invitation to join a police SWAT team in Denton, Texas as well as an Internet meme where people tweeted photos of themselvesbreaking through various objects.
While Quinn was trying to extricate himself, Sage Kotsenburg was winning the gold medal in snowboarding slopestyle. That performance was certainly impressive, but his Twitter feed the two weeks afterward might have been even more stellar.
In addition to introducing the word "spoice" into the public realm, Kotsenburg tweeted out his desire to get a medal made out of bacon (and then the photo of the result he was delivered during his appearance on Conan), retweets of congratulations from Kobe Bryant, Metallica and visits to The Tonight Show and "Andy Coops" on CNN. If Fast Times at Ridgemont High's Jeff Spicoli had been a snowboarder instead of a surfer, this Twitter feed would've been his ultimate dream sequence.
Kotsenberg wasn't the only snowboarder stealing hearts on social media. Russian snowboarder Alexey Sobolev received more than 2,000 texts after putting his phone number on the back of his helmet during a qualifying rounds. Some of which included attachments of some rather racy photos.
"It's really boring in the Olympic Village, you know?" Sobolev said at the time.