Zach Donohue and his ice dancing partner Madison Hubbell have been making waves this month as they take the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games by storm. The duo already stunned audiences earlier this year by nabbing the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championship, and are continuing to impress as they make their way through the Winter Games in Korea. Part of the fun of the Olympics is keeping up with your favorite athletes through social media, so, is Zach Donohue on Snapchat?
While he hasn't publicly broadcasted any Snapchat user name that he may have, Donohue is active on both Twitter and Instagram, including Instagram stories, found at the Instagram handle @zachtdonohue. He's been documenting his travels at this year's Winter Games, talking to the camera along with Hubbell, whom he formerly dated for two and a half years, according to TIME. "To work harder and do all of these things right, we just realized that to date and be with each other 24-7 with our particular personalities was just explosive,” Hubbell told Team USA, and added that the two "weren’t able to keep our focus where it needed to be. We had to ask ourselves what was more important, our on-ice partnership or our off-ice relationship? And we were both very clearly said the on-ice partnership is No. 1."
They apparently still get along just fine, at least in the public eye, though, and that seems necessary for a great athletic team. Hubbell still appears in Donohue's Instagram stories and posts, showing that a breakup hasn't slowed down their partnership. Donohue has also been documenting behind-the-scenes happenings at the Olympics on his Instagram story. And, Donohue isn't the only Olympian sharing his experience with fans through social media — plenty of athletes have allowed their followers to accompany them on that incredible journey and offered them a unique perspective that they likely wouldn't get through traditional reports or TV cameras.
Social media has also allowed plenty of people to explode into internet sensations overnight. According to Fortune, U.S. Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim started the Winter Games with about 20,000 followers on Twitter. An hour and a half following her gold medal win, she had skyrocketed to 175,000 followers. She's also, according to the same article, bounced to more than 400,000 Instagram followers.
It's interesting that some Olympians have chosen to be so open, given that some athletes have gone the direct opposite route, blacking themselves out from social media during the Olympics. "I’ve really been away from [social media] a bit, and that helps a lot," U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin told USA Today. "Because if I can’t see it then I don’t know what people are saying and it really feels like it is just me out there, and then I can just ski for myself.’’
Wanting to remove oneself from the often toxic environment of social media certainly makes sense, and athletes who are at the games should judge for themselves if they want to be in tune with social media during the competition — giving fans a sneak peak at their experience certainly shouldn't come at the cost of losing focus. Social media sharing, though, does bode well for us who are dying to get a taste of what the Olympics are really like. Donohue, and others who have chosen to post about their journey, have made South Korea feel not so far away. This level of closeness to Olympians is something that the fans of Olympic Games even a decade ago couldn't have fathomed, and it helps us feel be more supportive of those athletes we're rooting for.