Tinder Town – athletes look for love online in Sochi

Sochi Winter Olympic athletes using social app Tinder to hook up reports our journo on the ground Natalie Peters in Russia.

Waiting to board a flight from Moscow to Sochi, members of the British team sitting opposite me were gathered around one tall strapping lad trying to catch a glimpse of his iPhone, laughing and saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ and ‘no, no, no!”

The athlete at the centre of attention fist pumped the air and exclaimed, “I have a match!”

This is no game of Candy Crush – rather a plaything I suspect is about to take the three athlete’s villages by storm.

This is Tinder.

Ski photographer Nate Abbott calls it first
Ski photographer Nate Abbott calls it first

It’s an online dating app where you’re flashed photos of potential mates. Swipe the screen right if you like the look of them, left to pass. If you approve of someone who’s already given you the tick, you have a match and you can message each other.

It’s based on your GPS location and links you with people within a certain distance, which could open doors, so to speak, right across the villages.

Don’t tell President Vladimir Putin, but it obviously works for the gay community too.

Chatting with the UK clan about their Tinder plans, one confessed to downloading the app in time for Russia.

Another (half) jokingly asked, “I wonder how many Sochi babies will be made?”

Kiwi snowboarder says it with a wink
Kiwi snowboarder says it with a tongue in cheek wink

Let’s hope Russia ordered enough condoms. At the Vancouver Winter Olympics four years ago 100,000 weren’t enough and officials scrambled to get an extra 10,000 delivered, proving athletes worked out at least one way to stay warm.

Tinder didn’t exist at the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The App was launched in late 2012 and started as a college campus app making Sochi the first Tinder Olympic Games.

Possum Torr's Tinder tweet makes the Athlete Village Daily News
Possum Torr’s Tinder tweet makes the Athlete Village Daily News
Possum Torr jokes about her Tinder quest
Possum Torr jokes about her Tinder quest

But if these fun tweets from Kiwi snowboarder Rebecca Torr are anything to go by, Sochi’s athletes may not even wait till the medals are won to spark up some Tinder romance.

Natalie Peters is a broadcaster, journalist, skier and former ice skating ‘champion’ with an uncanny ability to sleep on planes. Nat is covering the Olympic Games for 2GB in Sydney where she is Deputy News Director. She will be filing exclusive blogs for us from the ground in Russia.

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