Vermonter Hannah Kearney hoped to be the first freeskier in Olympic history to win two gold medals. She won gold in Vancouver, but got a bronze in Sochi. And when things didn't go the way she had hoped, she vented the way many people do these days: through social media.
She tweeted "Bronze feels a lot like a broken heart." And it fired up fans and foes.
"For a lot of people social media is real time right now. And this is how I am feeling. So that's the draw for all of us in watching our athletes use social, because we get to get an inside look, a fast reaction somebody has," said Elaine Young, a professor of marketing at Champlain College in Burlington.
Kearney caught some serious backlash for tweeting her candid feelings. People referred to her as bratty, whiny and a sore loser:
Kevin Zegers þ@KevinZegers Feb 9 #HannahKearney is a sore loser
Mike @CHIROPOLOS Feb 11 #Sochi: #BronzeIsBeautiful. Here's to #JulieMancuso in the combined: true spirit of the games. As for #HannahKearney: grow up & get over it
Judy Christie @judypchristie Feb 10 #JuliaMancuso rejoices at bronze. #HannahKearney cries at bronze. Fascinating how perspectives vary. Both fine athletes. #Olympics2014
There's a flip side however.
"For athletes that are trying to be the best in the world, particularly at an event like this, it's like of course she was disappointed," Barbara Ann Cochran said.
Athletes competing at this level are under an immense amount of pressure. Former Olympic gold medalist Cochran knows this all too well. She now runs a coaching a consulting program for athletes, coaches and parents of athletes to help prepare them both mentally and physically to perform at the top level. She sympathizes with Kearney and thinks the backlash was a bit much.
"There's so much attention that goes to the Olympics and worldwide, to win an Olympic gold medal, is something that the pressure is entirely different," Cochran said.
Kearney used social media again to respond to critics and fans alike, this time speaking out on Facebook.
She writes, "I believe that everyone has a right to their true feelings and opinions, but I certainly don't mean to be ungrateful. I may have been devastated in the moment, but I am thrilled to be at the Olympics and proud to be bringing home a medal for my country."
Monday, March 10 2014 10:24 PM EDT2014-03-11 02:24:17 GMT
New leadership is on the way to Goddard College. The board of trustees voted unanimously to hire Robert Kenny as interim president. The native Vermonter is returning to the Plainfield campus after servingMore >>
New leadership is on the way to Goddard College. The board of trustees voted unanimously to hire Robert Kenny as interim president. More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-03-11 02:21:04 GMT
Vermont State Police received two complaints about a man claiming to be an employee with the Bennington County Sheriff's Department. Authorities say the scammer told victims that they had missed juryMore >>
Vermont State Police received two complaints about a man claiming to be an employee with the Bennington County Sheriff's Department.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 10:03 PM EDT2014-03-11 02:03:06 GMT
Police say an 11-year-old girl was walking from the Post Office near Chelsea Street Monday afternoon when an older man started following her. The suspect was in a dirty dark green pickup truck with unknownMore >>
Police say an 11-year-old girl was walking from the Post Office near Chelsea Street Monday afternoon when an older man started following her. More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 8:28 PM EDT2014-03-11 00:28:25 GMT
When Johanne Durocher Yordan looks at maps, she knows she's moving in the right direction. "I appreciate maps they're beautiful the legends the street name sections," said Johanne. Johanne gets inspiredMore >>
When Johanne Durocher Yordan looks at maps, she knows she's moving in the right direction.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 8:12 PM EDT2014-03-11 00:12:57 GMT
Many skiers have a mountain which they consider to be their home base -- their 'go to'. "It's my favorite place to ski. I've been skiing here for 25 years," said Alison Montgomery of Montreal.For MontgomeryMore >>
While some of us are looking forward to spring, diehard skiers aren't willing to give up on winter just yet, especially with the snowy forecast. Nick Borelli takes us to Smuggs.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 7:48 PM EDT2014-03-10 23:48:11 GMT
With the long cold winter and the price of fuel going up, heating with wood is looking pretty good. But new emission rules on the horizon could mean pricier wood-burning stoves. Hearthstone has beenMore >>
New emission rules on the horizon could mean pricier wood-burning stoves.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 7:46 PM EDT2014-03-10 23:46:27 GMT
Nate Beatty hasn't even received his degree in the mail yet but he and his partner, Shane Scranton, are already pushing a product they developed while still in school. They say it will transform the worldMore >>
Two recent Middlebury College grads are on a mission to change the way architects view space.More >>
Monday, March 10 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-10 23:42:52 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin's full single-payer financing plan is due January 1 of next year, but legislators leave Montpelier in May most years -- so some have called for a glimpse at the possible taxes theMore >>
Vermont lawmakers may not get a menu of tax options to pay for single-payer before they leave Montpelier this year.