tweeting for gold.
The Australian Olympic team has not scored themselves the glimmering gold treasures that they would have hoped to in London this year, but they have managed to gain copious amounts of cyber-space critique and abuse. At the last Olympics in Beijing, the Twittersphere was a world that had of course launched itself into a media revolution, but with this year’s Games, the stronghold of social-networking has a firm grasp on the attention spans of most individuals.
Athletes this year on the Australian Olympic team are being criticised for their constant streaming of their happenings at the Games on the worldwide stage of Twitter. For many, the controversy of bringing home only one gold medal so far, has brought with it the irritating mess of big named athletes losing out in their events, but seemingly able to Tweet to compensate for everything lost.
Emily Seebohm, Australian medley swimmer, is the latest to be caught up in the social-networking fiasco, after she was televised shedding tears when she received a silver medal for her 100m backstroke–which ended her hopes of getting her second gold medal, and third medal overall in London.
The 20-year old was reeled into the Twitter debacle when Australian Twitter user Kelly Morando began attacking the athlete for crying over a silver medal, instead of gold.
“@emcbomb how bout you take that silver medal and trade it for four thousand boxes of tissues to wipe your tears you f******* sook,” Morando tweeted.
In response, Seebohm replied with a calm statement on her tough journey this year, and apologised for offending followers with her behaviour. Seebohm’s brother responded to the mess by insulting the Tweeter, calling her ugly and that she “should not post photos of herself on Twitter”. Morando was still being abused yesterday by strangers and was later forced to delete her tweets and apologise to have the unwanted attention put to a stop.
The Seebohm incident has sparked a number of concerns to Australain Olympic coaches of the welfare and social implications of using social-networking during such an emotionally and physically draining event like the Olympic Games itself.
Australian head coach Leigh Nugent told News.com.au that the swimmers and athletes alike, need to leave social media alone during competition.
“Our advice to our athletes is, you know, resist this sort of temptation,” he said.
Fellow coach Matt Brown stated that social media has become a major issue for the swimmers in this year’s games.
“I’d love to throw some of those phones away,” he told News.
Seebohm later admitted that her obsession with Twitter cost her the gold medal in her event.
In addition to Seebohm’s unwanted media attention, Stephanie Rice is seemingly unable to learn her lesson of the social-media dangers against her career, even after her loss of several sponsors last year for calling South Africa’s rugby team “fa**ots” in a tweet.
The medley star lost out in her 400m individual medley in the early days of this week, but used Twitter to announce her disappointment.
“Need to edit my bio on Twitter seeing as tho I’m not a World Record holder any more. Stoke that it was the last record to get broken tho,” she told her 80,000 followers.
The Australian Olympic team have not been able to snatch up wins for the tally and have caused more controversy in the media than they would ever have imagined, but the concerns over the effects of Twitter for their career and personal welfares, are becoming more evident amongst officials and coaches.
Perhaps it’s time for the team to stop tweeting and start competing.