Sochi scene: Playing coy

Published: Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 9:37 a.m. CDT

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — This year's Winter Olympics could go down as the Tinder Games. But — surprise, surprise — athletes are coy about the smartphone app known to help mutually attracted singles meet.

Some say they've heard of the app but aren't using it. Others say they're on it, but only as a joke or out of curiosity. And some say its popularity is inevitable in the sexually charged atmosphere of athletes' villages.

A quick browse of the app in Sochi turns up more than two dozen profiles that appear connected to athletes, though only a few talk openly about it and there's no way to be certain it's them.

Australian freestyle skier Sami Kennedy-Sim says she used the app out of curiosity. "I haven't been on it for a few days now — I believe that the boys seem to enjoy it," said Kennedy-Sim, married to former Olympic cross-country skier Ben Sim.

"A few of the Australian athletes have been using it as a means of communication" to avoid Facebook, Kennedy-Sim says.

Australian snowboarder Jarryd Hughes says the app was part of his Valentine's Day plans. "I'm going to have to keep it a secret," he says.

New Zealand snowboarder Rebecca Torr drew attention by saying she looked forward to using the app in Sochi. She wanted to use it wanted to meet the Jamaican bobsled team, saying after qualifying for slopestyle: "I'm not trying to find them to party."

She clarified afterward, telling a New Zealand radio show she was joking. She tweeted Sunday: "After my experiences over these past few weeks, I think there is a great great need for a 'sarcasm' font."

According to a Wall Street Journal report (http://on.wsj.com/1lLsqHO ), the number of Tinder users in Sochi has quadrupled since the opening ceremony, into to the thousands.

— By Oskar Garcia — Twitter http://twitter.com/oskargarcia

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Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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