As well as being the world’s biggest sporting event, the London 2012 Olympics is likely to be the biggest demonstration of the power and reach of social media we’ve ever seen. With just a week to go until the opening ceremony, Team GB has been generating a lot of buzz on social media platforms, and we were interested to see which athletes were being most talked about.

Our in-house social monitoring tool is capable of capturing any mentions of a keyword on Twitter, Facebook*, Google+, blogs and YouTube. We asked it to monitor the names of Team GB’s athletes over the past 30 days, and used the data we collected to find out who was getting the most mentions. The top twenty most talked about athletes are listed below.

One caveat to bear in mind – to make it fair, we decided to remove Andy Murray and the Team Sky cyclists from the results, because they were receiving an overwhelming amount of mentions relating to sporting events other than the Games (Wimbledon and the Tour de France). Apologies to Messrs Wiggins and Murray, who would have been way out in front otherwise!

Most Popular Team GB Athletes on Social Media


As you can see, distance runner Mo Farah came out on top with 16,533 mentions – thanks in no small part to his winning appearance on ITV’s The Cube at the weekend.

Another athlete who benefitted from tv coverage was Victoria Pendleton, who came third with 7,657 mentions, 5,321 of which came within 24 hours of the broadcast of her revealing documentary on BBC1 on 18th July.

Athletes who might have expected to place higher on the list include Jessica Ennis, who with 7,209 mentions was only the fourth highest on our list. This is perhaps surprising given her ubiquity in the media in the run-up to the Olympics (e.g. appearing on the front page of the Sun a couple of weeks ago).

Tom Daley was our runner-up overall with 13,812 mentions. This reflects his status as a teen icon with lots of young fans, who are very vocal in their support for him!

Our study was performed with a simple monitoring exercise, harnessing the power of tools we use every day for our business clients. If you’d like to know more about our social monitoring services, why not give us a call on 01305 542000

*Only Facebook profiles set to ‘public’ in the privacy settings are open to be crawled by social media monitoring tools