U.S. Olympians see Twitter followers skyrocket during Games
August 10, 2012 09:15 AM
Most Olympic fans wouldn’t be surprised to see that swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte came away with huge numbers following not only their success in the pool, but also the amount of air time they received. Phelps has gained nearly 1 million Twitter followers in the last two weeks, while Lochte chalked up more than 750,000. Missy Franklin was the big winner of the female swimmers with more than a quarter million new followers for the 17-year-old (see chart below).
The success of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team led to some overnight sensations and a new nickname. The “Fierce Five” all saw more than 100,000 new followers each, with all-around champion Gabby Douglas leading the way with nearly 600,000 new followers.
On the international side, some of the biggest Twitter stories have come from athletes who haven’t medaled. The controversy surrounding the harassment of British diver Tom Daley has led to a large spike in supportive followers, and inspirational South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, the “Blade Runner,” also has added nearly 100,000 new followers after his historic appearance in the Games. Sprint icon Usain Bolt had added more than 500,000 new followers even before his historic victory Thursday in the 200 meters.
Listed below are the Twitter followers for the official pages of notable U.S. Olympians on the day of the opening ceremony on July 27 compared to Thursday.
|Twitter Followers||Friday, July 27||THURSDAY AUG. 9||ADDITIONAL FOLLOWERS|
|SWIMMING AND DIVING|
|TRACK AND FIELD|
|Kerri Walsh Jennings||83,668||110,088||26,420|
|INTERNATIONAL ATHLETES OF NOTE|
|Tom Daley (Great Britain/diving)||344,632||1,170,866||826,234|
|Usain Bolt (Jamaica/track)||634,092||1,174,411||540,319|
|Jessica Ennis (Great Britain/track)||213,410||602,247||388,837|
|Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain/cycling)||296,782||510,299||213,517|
|Oscar Pistorius (South Africa/track)||54,822||125,193||70,371|
|Yohan Blake (Jamaica/track)||7,222||64,143||56,921|
Note: Charts do not include Olympic athletes who are more known for the teams and leagues in which they usually compete, such as NBA players and professional tennis players. Sources: SportsBusiness Journal research, Twittercounter.com