Social Media Dominates London 2012, Launches New Olympic Era

Blog originally published on Digby’sThe Mobile Retail Blog.

The 2012 Summer Games, hosted by the good people of London, has already been dubbed the “First Social Media Games”. As we start the second week of the XXX Olympiad, the world has already seen what a huge impact social media has had on the games – and the numbers are staggering! Twitter has already reported that the opening ceremonies sparked 9.66 million mentions, topping the total number of Twitter posts during the entire 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. According to iProspect, a large British digital marketing agency, and Carat, a media agency, Twitter was by far the favorite social media site, accounting for 97% of all online conversations about the opening ceremony.

Social Media Goes for Gold in London
For those of us who are Twitter users, we know there are good and bad sides to this social media platform.  For this year’s athletes, it is a unique way to communicate “directly” to their fans, families back home, and other athletes. “Twitter and social media are how we can get our word out, and fans kind of want to see what things look like from behind the scenes,” says U.S. swimmer Ricky Berens in a recent Mashable article. “TV portrays things the way it wants to and we can give a lot more than that.”

The dark side of social media, however, can be downright mean and pressure-packed, as we have already seen during the first week of the games. After becoming the first African-American woman to win the individual all-around women’s gymnastics competition, America’s newest sweetheart, Gabby Douglas, became victim to social media bullies who made fun of her hair. When Aussie swimmer Emily Seebohm failed to take gold in the 100-meter backstroke final, she told reporters that she believed the pressure put on her via social media to win gold caused her to lose the race.  “…Maybe I just started believing that I’d already won by the time I had swum…I just felt like I didn’t get off (social media) and get into my own mind,” said Seebohm.
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A Gold Medal Summer

A Gold Medal Summer

Everyone at KG knows that I’m a huge sports fan, and of course, every two years I cannot wait for the arrival of the Olympics. I love everything about the Olympics, even Bob Costas. Nothing beats watching an underdog team beat the incumbent gold medal winner or an individual athlete overcoming incredible odds to win the race.  In my opinion, the Olympics have provided some of the most historic and inspirational athletic feats in recent history.

In a little over a month, the best athletes from all over the world will descend upon London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. (As an interesting aside, our very own Brittany Johnson and her husband have been lucky enough to score tickets to a few of the events!) As the world prepares to watch more record-breaking races and nail-biting gymnastic routines – I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane on some of the top Olympic moments.  After all, so many of these were great PR stories for their time!

Jesse Owens – Conquering the World Though Racial and Physical Obstacles

During the 1936 Olympics against the back drop of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Olympic track star Jesse Owens, won four gold medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and the long jump. He broke or equaled nine Olympic records and set three world records. Adolf Hitler hoped that the Berlin Games would prove his theory of Aryan racial superiority; however, Jesse Owen’s achievements led the people of Berlin to hail him as a hero. One of the most memorable moments of the games was when a 19-year old Germany athlete congratulated Owens after a qualifying round, in full view of Hitler.

The Holy Trinity of Gymnastics – Comaneci, Retton, Strug

You can’t call yourself a woman’s gymnastics fan unless you know about these three ladies, who all made historic achievements during three different summer Olympics:

  • Nadia Comaneci – During the 1976 Olympics, Nadia scored what is now known as “The” Perfect Ten.  She was the first gymnast to ever score a perfect “10” – and went on in her career to repeat this feat six times at Olympic competitions.
  • Mary Lou Retton – In the 1984 Olympics, she was the first female gymnast from outside Eastern Europe to win the Olympic all-around title. Retton scored perfect 10s on floor exercise and vault to win the all-around title by 0.05 points.
  • Kerri Strug – During the 1996 Olympics, Kerri (a part of the Magnificent Seven U.S. Women’s Gymnastics team) fought through injury and enormous expectations to land a vault on one leg, guaranteeing her team gold.  The Magnificent Seven remain the only U.S. women’s gymnastics team to claim Olympic gold.

Miracle On Ice – A Defining Moment in Olympic History
The “Miracle on Ice” is the name in American popular culture for a medal-round men’s ice hockey game during the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, New York, on Friday, February 22. The United States team, made up of amateur and collegiate players and led by coach Herb Brooks, defeated the Soviet team, who had won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament since 1954. Team USA went on to win the gold medal by winning its last match over Finland. In 1999, Sports Illustrated named the “Miracle on Ice” the Top Sports Moment of the 20th Century.

Tell us your favorite Olympic moments!