KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – Alexey Sobolev reached into his pocket and pulled out the most famous iPhone in Russia. He tapped the Photos icon. And then he started critiquing the dozens of naked pictures women had sent him in the last 24 hours.
"Yeaaaaah," he said, pointing to a particularly nubile woman. "She is really good."
Sobolev laughed, and those around him joined in. Even though he had failed to make the slopestyle finals Saturday morning, the 22-year-old Russian was the talk of the competition anyway because of his board featuring a caricature that evoked images of the anarchist band Pussy Riot and a helmet on which he had written his phone number for the world to see.
While Sobolev remained coy about the board design, saying he didn't know whether it was Pussy Riot and that he hadn't requested it, he relished in the attention the helmet brought after he wore it during qualifying Thursday. While the IOC made him cover the numbers with black duct tape Saturday morning, his number had circulated through enough avenues – social media, photographs and even a national TV station in Russia – that thousands of messages from around the world flooded in.
Including a few from the ladies.
"I'm definitely going to call them," Sobolev said.
At one point Friday, Sobolev didn't think he would be able to. The deluge of messages and phone calls overwhelmed him so much, his phone just stopped working. The battery didn't die. The thing just gave up.
Eventually, it mustered the courage to restart, which gave Sobolev a chance to share its contents with a reporter. He turned the brightness of the screen to full blast and focused on one particular girl in what can only be described as the tightest dress in human history.
And where was she from?
"Russia," he said. "Yesterday, some guys from USA and Canada sent (text messages). Some girls sent me photos. But Russian girls: The best!"
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