Is it me or did the onslaught of tweeting, Facebook posting and pinning instigate major drama during the 2012 Olympic Games? Officially dubbed the “social media games,” the 30th Olympiad is proof that all things social are shrinking our planet faster than you can say Usain Bolt.
Just four years ago, we were oohing and ahhing at the over-the-top opening ceremonies in Beijing. Twitter was only a couple of years old. Facebook hit 100 million users that summer (Today there are more than 900 million users.) There was not a pin on a Pinterest board to be found of Ryan Lochte wearing his ridiculous grill (Wipe your tears. His fandom is certainly making up for it this year.)
Between delayed coverage, off-color tweets and fan frenzy, I thought it would be fun to recap the top 5 controversies fueled by social media at the Olympic games.
5. Grill Time - Full disclosure: I’m a Gator, and I’m proud that the University of Florida’s current and former athletes account for four gold, four silver and five bronze medals (that’s 13 of America’s 90 medals). With that said, I think Ryan Lochte’s custom “grills” are really obnoxious. When he was asked not to wear them on the medal stand – and risk not receiving his gold medal if he did -ESPN feature writer Wayne Drehs took to Twitter to share the news.
4. Hair Critics - The young woman is a two-time gold medalist and yet Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and her Mom had to answer to insensitive tweets about her straightened hair. Clearly social media helps shine a light on how awesome the human race can be … At least Gabby has shown grace and class in response to the Twitter negativity.
3. Gun Gate – Whether her comments were blown out of proportion or not, Olympic hurdler LoLo Jones found herself in some hot water with this tweet:
2. Solo Smash - U.S. women’s soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo created a ruckus when she took to Twitter to bash former U.S. professional soccer player Brandi Chastain. (Anyone remember the game-winning penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup? Or her two gold and one silver Olympic medals? Yep. That Brandi Chastain.) Hope’s rant certainly caused a stir in the Twittersphere.
1. Spoiler Alerts (or lack-thereof) – Between NBC not live-streaming the opening ceremonies (for folks on the West Coast), NBC’s prime time delays and our Facebook friends ruining the medal results, I’d say the most uproar on social media had to do with the time difference and the choices of NBC. What does this tell us? We want our Olympic updates and we want them now!