The use of social media, like Twitter, can easily get individuals in trouble. This is especially true when the individuals are athletes at the Olympic Games. Those athletes, who may not be well known outside of their sport normally, are now seen as role models to many people. With the dramatic increase in followers that the individuals may gain during the Olympic Games, the athletes also get a higher level of scrutiny. The athlete may not intend for any tweets to be controversial, but sometimes the wrong word or phrase sets off a firestorm. Here are five of the top controversial Twitter moments during the first week of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
Most recently, it was Bradley Wiggins that sparked some minor controversy. After the British cyclist took his fourth gold medal and seventh medal overall by winning the men's time trials on Wednesday August 1, he decided to have a night out on the town. After all, this had been the win that led some commentators to calling him one of the greatest Olympians in Great Britain. His image may be slightly tarnished due to his tweets about his night out. In the early hours of Thursday, August 2, he made multiple references to getting very drunk during the extended celebration.
Not long before Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice traveled to England to compete, she tweeted an image of herself wearing a swimsuit that had been a birthday gift from the designer. The suit was a tiny bikini style white suit with brown straps. She faced some criticism for wearing such a revealing garment. Unfortunately, she will be leaving London empty handed after failing to medal in her two events.
On Friday, July 20, a tragedy occurred when a gunman opened fire in a theater filled with people. Fast forward eight days and a controversy erupted when track star Lolo Jones tweeted about the United States men's archery team. After the team lost, she made an inflammatory tweet that indicated that the United States would do better in the firearm competitions. She claimed it was a hunting reference and not a reference to the recent shooting.
Voula Papachristou, a Greek track and field athlete who was to participate in the triple jump, is no longer competing for her country. In the months leading up to the event, she had posted videos and links to information supporting one particular extreme conservative political group, all of which have since been deleted. On Sunday, July 22, the athlete made a joke on Twitter that was viewed as disparaging to athletes from Africa. By Wednesday, July 25, the Hellenic Olympic Committee not only stated that athletes were not allowed to tweet about anything other than the Olympic Games while in England, but also that Papachristou would no longer be representing Greece in the triple jump.
Unfortunately, Papachristou was not the only athlete to be dismissed from the Olympics due to a controversial tweet. Michael Morganella was playing soccer for Switzerland and the team had a particularly rough time against the South Korean soccer team and wound up losing to the South Koreans in the group stage on Sunday, July 29. After the game, Morganella tweeted a threat against South Koreans that was considered way out of the bounds of normal gamesmanship. By Monday, it had been announced that Morganella was no long with the team.
Though Kristin Watt is not a fan of all sports, she does follow the news on most sports religiously. Major news events in sport do tend to ripple out to others and she makes sure that she never misses the big stories.