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Winning A Gold Medal Can Boost Your Twitter Following, But By How Much?

It’s a toss up.

Image via Pixabay

The Olympics might be over, but there’s one arena where athletes can continue to compete: Twitter.


It makes sense that winning an Olympic gold medal would increase your Twitter following. Practically overnight, an athlete can go from relative obscurity to being an international icon. James O’Malley over at Alphr wanted to know exactly how far a gold medal can get you on social media, so he set off to crunch the numbers. After finding 353 competitors from the 2016 Rio Games currently using the platform, O’Malley started tracking the ebb and flow of each athlete’s following starting on Day 3 of the Olympics.

His findings were somewhat surprising. Out of his pool of social media proficient athletes, cyclist Laura Trott took home the grand prize with an increase of 83,000 Twitter followers. While her two gold medals definitely put her on the virtual map, the bump in followers might also have something to do with the media attention she and her partner, Jason Kenny, received following one British commentator’s sexist remark. The fact that Kenny himself saw an increase of nearly 52,000 followers further backs up that theory. These are big jumps for Trott and Kenny considering they started with just 206,000 and 44,000 followers, respectively.

Other athletes might not notice the uptick their medals bring since they already had so many followers to begin with. Such is the case with 22-year-old diving champ Tom Daley, who already had more than 2.5 million followers before the games began. Winning a bronze medal for men’s synchronized diving was enough to garner him an additional 60,000 Twitter fans.

But if we’re talking about a percentage increase, cyclist Callum Skinner won the Twitter Games by a landslide with a 700-percent boost in followers. Going into Rio, Skinner had a little over 2,000 followers. But after winning one silver and one gold medal, he saw that number spike to 15,000. As you can see, there are more ways to win than one—just as in the real Olympics.

To check out the full analysis, head over to Alphr.

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