Sobolev had already made Olympic chatter when he revealed his snowboard had a caricature evoking images of the anarchist punk band Pussy Riot, and wore a helmet with his phone number on it. The IOC made him cover the number on his helmet with black duct tape on Saturday morning, but the damage had been done. It had already been spread through social media, photographs, and even television.
He received thousands of messages, including quite a few from female fans. The messages became so much that Sobolev's phone at one point on Friday just gave out. Eventually, his phone was revived and he flipped through a few of the images. "I'm definitely going to call them," he said. Stopping on a photo of a woman who was reportedly in the "tightest dress in human history," he said she was from Russia and, "Yesterday, some guys from USA and Canada sent (text messages). Some girls sent me photos. But Russian girls: The best!"