Sporty tweets show a love for moving underdog tales

Krystal Peak · July 30, 2012 · Short URL:

With the London Olympics' social focus, tweets show the world-wide support for athletes

If you can't be in the stands to cheer on your home team at the Olympics, the next best thing for many people is to take to Twitter and tweet some love.

In an effort to see just what sports and companies are getting the loudest about their competitors, a new social media tool called the CheerMeter has analyzed all of the tweets and found that rowing, football and swimming are the most talked about sports at the moment.

Just one day before the opening ceremony, a modest 200,000 tweets mentioned sports and athletic enthusiasm, which ballooned to nearly 20x the buzz for the opening ceremonies when more than 1.9 million tweets flowed online for Olympic love.

The Games then hit an all-time high of in excess of 2.4 million on the first official day of competition on Saturday.


Mid-Monday, there were a staggering 44,000 sport tweets in a single hour.

“There are few topics more internationally evocative than sports. As the world tunes in to watch its finest athletes compete, all the major social media platforms will explode with noise during this busy period," Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab explained why CheerMeter, in a statement.  "We’ve built the CheerMeter to act as a virtual stadium for all sports fans, supporters and critics to track the social media performance of individual sporting events, athletes and associated brands in real time.” 

 CheerMeter updates the Twitter trends and data hour-by-hour, by sport, language, country, and athlete. The most popular sport being discussed was rowing (representing 16.4% of the sport buzz on Twitter), followed by football with 11.3% (also known as soccer to the US residents) and finally swimming took up more than 10% of the Twitter sport chatter.

One might be surprised by how much love rowing was getting on Twitter until you realize that the public loves a poignant underdog story like that of Niger's Hamadou Djibo Issaka, an athlete that has only been rowing for three months, and struggled to get across the finish line on Sunday.

His great tale and heart to stay in the race even brought the sport announce to his feet as he cheered on: "You can do it!"  As Djibo Issaka approached the finish in last place, 20,000 people in the grandstands stood, waved flags and cheered his completion.

This is online gold that brought a lot of people to Twitter to express their support for someone with the most heart.


When you look at what languages the sport support is in on Twitter, it does paint a more homogenous picture, despite the collectively an world-wide-support that the Olympics brings.

A stark 90% of tweets about sports on Monday were in English and a very distant second language represented was Spanish with only 2% of the tweets. While Twitter is available in most countries, the dominance of dialogue on the site is still very focused on English-speaking nations.

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes