The Washington Post

Is London the most social Olympics ever?

From President Obama congratulating Team USA members like Michael Phelps on Twitter, to athletes being thrown out of competition for posting offensive messages, London 2012 has undoubtedly been the most social Olympics yet.

On July 26, Chloe Sladden, VP of Media for Twitter, wrote in a blog post that there were more Olympic-related tweets posted in one day leading up to the Opening Ceremonies than during the whole of the 2008 Beijing Games. Since then, record numbers of tweets were sent when Gabby Douglas won the women’s all-around gymnastics gold medal with 38,000 tweets pouring in per minute and during Phelps and Lochte’s showdown in the 200-meter individual medley with 25,000 per minute.

To harness the overwhelming response to the games, the iconic London landmark the London Eye has even been programmed to reflect overall moods of Olympic-related tweets in Britain through a light show.

Whether athletes celebrating their victories post pictures of their gold medals, or tweet about hanging out with rap stars, the world is getting a peek into the lives of those inside the rings at the Olympic Games and people are loving it.

The hype has generated hundreds of stories, not on what records Olympians are breaking, but what tweets they are posting. News media have taken to reporting on the top athletes to follow, not in their events, but online.

Whether Olympians use Twitter for promotional purposes or just to share experiences with friends, family and fans, the ability to see what our favorite athletes are up to is simply addictive.

For those who have missed out on some untelevised Olympic moments, here are some highlights:

Team USA’s “Fab Five” gymnasts have been the media darlings of London 2012. Here they are, minus Aly Raisman, clowning around on top of a double-decker bus in London.

Only one day after Andy Murray beat Roger Federer in the men’s tennis final and went on to score a silver in mixed doubles, the Scotsman decided to loan out his medals to some of his furry friends. Murray’s girlfriend, Kim Sears, reportedly runs the Twitter feed for their dogs Rusty and Maggie, who are pictured here wearing silver and gold, respectively.

Although Ryan Lochte’s love life may have received a lot of attention during this Olympic games, Michael Phelps’s appearance with model girlfriend Megan Rossee at a Speedo event in London on Monday made a big splash in the media. On August 5, Rossee posted pictures with Phelps, who was posing with a handful of medals.

Since his Olympic stint concluded, Ryan Lochte attended the US men’s basketball game against Argentina earlier this week where he hung out with rapper Ludacris.

Usain Bolt celebrated his 100-meter win with three members of the Swedish women’s handball team back in the Olympic village.

U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones is known for her outspoken antics on Twitter. She snapped this picture with a London police officer on her way into the Opening Ceremonies.

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Matt Brooks · August 8, 2012