Sochi: Olympic Medal-Winning Skier Nick Goepper Talks Twitter, Tinder, Newfound Fame
Life sure has changed for Nick Goepper now that he is part of the elite group of U.S. Olympic medal winners.
The 19-year-old Indiana native returned from Sochi a changed man this week, and the explosion of followers on his Twitter profile isn't the only difference for the young ski phenom.
Garnering attention from major sponsors such as Red Bull even before the 2014 Olympics, Goepper has been quick to make the most of his sudden celebrity status by launching a Twitter contest to win a date with the bronze-medal-winning slopestyle skier -- garnering a slew of both sweet and strange responses.
"The dating competition was a little idea that sparked into my head after the Olympics because I was getting all these tweets and Instagrams from girls -- like Man Candy Monday and crazy stuff," Goepper tells The Hollywood Reporter.
"I figured I would have some fun with it. The reaction I've gotten is crazy -- people are singing songs, dancing, writing long essays on why I should take them out on a date. There have been a couple of inappropriate replies and some cool ones. One poor girl tweeted that she was in the middle of making a video for me skiing and broke her arm. I feel terrible! I'm definitely going to reach out to her.
"The strangest is where a girl has a weird outfit on and paints a unibrow on herself. The whole video is just awkward, as she's speaking from behind closed doors," says the freaked out sports star, adding: "I can't wait to pick some girl and hang out with her. I think I'm going to take the winner out to New York City -- go around and do a lot of cool stuff and have an awesome day."
His dream date is going to have to put up with a lot of extra competition when she goes out with Goepper, who says the impact of his newfound fame after taking the Olympic podium is still sinking in. "The craziest thing is walking down the streets of New York and people recognizing me and asking for my photo. It has been pretty wild," reveals the teenager, who is currently in Manhattan doing interviews, including appearing on The Late Show With David Letterman on Thursday. "I am used to getting spotted in ski towns, but I never thought it would happen in a place like this."
Geopper didn't have any trouble getting connected over in Sochi either. He and teammates Joss Christensen and Gus Kenworthy have all admitted to using the dating app Tinder, which has been blowing up cell phones all over Russia since the games kicked off.
"Between me and my friends, Tinder was just something to laugh at. I don't know if anyone was using it seriously, but I definitely fired mine up as soon as I got there. It was funny to see all these people around who are Olympians. It is definitely just a hook up app!" says the dashing single skier.
As for the party atmosphere of the Olympic Village -- where reportedly 100,000 condoms were handed out by officials -- Geopper says he came back to the U.S. just as things were starting to get wild. "When I got there [two-and-half weeks ago] people were really serious and focused on their events. But right when I was about to leave, they were letting loose and condoms made themselves present. I saw a lot of people starting to get wild, but we got out before the chaos ensued."
After a long trip away and a stressful contest day, where he almost didn't make the finals, Nick was just ready to get back home to Indiana. "There were a lot of ups and downs, but for the most part it was so cool," he tells THR.
While some of the Olympic glory has been lessened by the lack of big names, such as Lindsey Vonn and Shaun White, with Bob Costas' pinkeye taking center stage more often than the athletes, Geopper says the support from American fans has still been outstanding.
"The reception we've had from everyone is amazing. I think the media may have downplayed Sochi a bit because of some of the unfortunate, insignificant things that have occurred, like the bad hotels and the water. All of that was blown out of proportion and overshadowed just how awesome Sochi is, and the venues and what a good job they did with everything.
"The Olympic venues that we had were some of the best I've ever seen. I think the Winter Olympics are definitely on a smaller scale than the summer games, but with the inclusion of cool new sports like slopestyle skiing and snowboarding, it is going to breathe new life into them and attract a whole new crowd.
"Skiing not only for yourself and your family, but for your country was surreal. The amount of support I got from back home in Indiana was insane," he explains.