London 2012: Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Gabby Douglas Lead Olympians Who Gained Most Twitter Followers
Michael Phelps struck gold in London in two ways - the six medals he'll take home and the 1 million new Twitter followers he gained from the Games.
Phelps leads this year's Olympians in the number of new fans on social media since the London Games began July 27. The superstar swimmer, who has become the most decorated Olympian in history, collected online clout about as fast as he swims: he'll leave England with 1.2 million Twitter followers and 800,000 Facebook fans, according to a Reuters analysis of data from social media tracker Starcount.
Many new fans followed the inescapable Phelps as news outlets closely covered his highly successful run in the 2012 Games, where he racked up four gold medals and two silvers. That brings his all-time Olympic total to 19 medals - the most ever for a single athlete.
Just behind Phelps in the social media race was Jamaican track star Usain Bolt. After achieving the gold in both the 100- and 200-meters finals, Bolt gained 725,000 new Twitter followers - sending his total to 1.36 million - and clocked in at 700,000 new Facebook fans.
Third place goes to a girl quickly becoming synonymous with being first, American gymnast Gabby Douglas. The "Flying Squirrel" had her fair share of big media moments in London: becoming the first African-American to win gold in the all-around competition, defending her hair against critics who called it unkempt and getting congratulatory shout-outs from celebrities ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Justin Bieber.
About 600,000 new subscribers flocked to Douglas' Twitter feed during the Olympics, and her number of Facebook fans multiplied many times over, skyrocketing from 15,000 to 600,000.
Though the United States led the 2012 medal count by a landslide with 104, the American team was bested by the Games' host for the most social media activity. Team GB picked up 50,000 Facebook fans and 22,000 Twitter followers since the lighting of the torch.
The Olympic Games were hot on Twitter throughout the two-week run. Users tweeted about the Olympics more than 150 million times, according to Twitter's communications blog.
But the most-tweeted moment of the Games had nothing to do with athletics. The Closing Ceremony's Spice Girls reunion drew a massive 116,000 tweets per minute on Sunday night, according to The Hollywood Reporter.