2012 - The Year Of The Twitter Olympics
August 14, 2012

Olympics Inspired Over 150 Million Tweets

Derek Walter for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online

The 2012 London Olympics was built up as the “Twitter Olympics,” and it certainly did not disappoint. Many athletes tweeted after winning medals, while numerous fans mentioned athletes (sometimes not so kindly) during the Games.

Twitter said that users sent over 150 million tweets during the Olympics´ 16-day run. American athletes, such as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Gabby Douglas, were among the leaders in driving the conversation. British swimmer Tom Daley was also popular, generating more mentions than LeBron James or Andy Murray.

Of course along with scoring gold and setting world records, Usain Bolt was also the top athlete in generating the most discussion on Twitter. He took to the site several times to proclaim his supremacy after winning solo races and the team relay. The social site posted the following list of athletes and their Twitter account names (with the exception of Kobe Bryant, who is not on Twitter), which generated over one million tweets each:

1. Usain Bolt (@UsainBolt)
2. Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps)
3. Tom Daley (@TomDaley1994)
4. Ryan Lochte (@ryanlochte)
5. Gabby Douglas (@gabrielledoug)
6. Andy Murray (@andy_murray)
7. Kobe Bryant (#GetKobeOnTwitter)
8. Yohan Blake (@YohanBlake)
9. Lee Chong Wei (@Lee_C_Wei)
10. LeBron James (@KingJames)

It was often several key events that caused the conversation to spike, such as when Michael Phelps was racing or the gold medal game for the United States basketball team.

Additionally, the opening and closing ceremonies were a large source of conversation.

“Both events drove an incredible volume of Twitter conversation, and experienced their own giant spikes in Tweets per minute. Tonight´s Closing Ceremonies didn´t disappoint – with performances by The Who, George Michael and so many more,” posted Andrew Fitzgerald, the manager of editorial programming, on Twitter´s official blog.

When it came to the closing ceremony there was only one event that Twitters users decided they really, really want: the Spice Girls. Their brief performance generated over 116,000 tweets alone, according to Twitter.

Twitter is continuing to tighten its service in order to serve as a global platform for discussion. The Twitter blog also has chronicled how worldwide discussion has spiked during major news events, such as the recent vice presidential candidate unveiling of Paul Ryan by Mitt Romney.