London 2012 was the first Social Media Olympics allowing athletes to use Social Media. In Beijing 2008 Social Media was banned. The Olympic Commitee were so invested in using Social Media this year that a social media hub was built in Athletes Village and a dedicated website (http://hub.olympic.org/) for the public was made to follow every athletes tweet, country and sporting event in dedicated news feeds on the site. Twitter just released the figures for London 2012.
In total over 150 million tweets were sent that were about the Olympics. Usain Bolt (@usainbolt) was by far the biggest trending topic during the London 2012 when he won the 200m Final. An average of 80,000 tweets per minute were sent. Andy Murray (@andy_murray) after winning the men’s Tennis Final had 57,000 tweets per minute sent. Overall Usain Bolt was the most tweeted about Athlete with nine other athletes behind him with 1 million tweets each including America’s Lebron James (@KingJames).
Irish athletes were prominent on Twitter none more so than Katie Taylor. The Bray native who does not even have a Twitter account was the most popular irish athlete on the Social Media site by a long distance. After her excellent fight to win gold, congratulations were coming in from all over the world from celebrities, sports people and politicians. Oscar De La Hoya, Samuel L Jackson, Nick Clegg and Lennox Lewis were just some of the people tweeting their praises to Ireland’s new hero.
London 2012 and Twitter was not lacking in controversy. A 17 year old who sent an abusive message to Great Britain Olympic diver Tom Daley after a lacklustre performance was arrested for trolling and malicious communicating. Michael Phelps could lose the Olympic Medals he won at London 2012. The Olympics Committee state that during the Games there is to be no non-olympics marketing campaigns. On August 13th pictures were leaked on Twitter of a Louis Vuitton fashion endorsement by Michael Phelps before London 2012 was over. This could lead to an investigation and potentially Phelps could lose his medals won.
With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia and 2016 Olympics in Rio, one can only presume that Social Media will influence the Olympics Committee decision making process on more aspects of the games than ever before. One thing is sure for certain. More athletes are going to join Twitter and Facebook, more controversy is going to arise and Social Media will become an even bigger part of our everyday lives.