The Twitterlympics

As we are now a few days into the 2012 Olympics, there is one issue that has garnered serious attention. No, it’s not gold medals, world records, or athletes testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. It’s Twitter, which has more judges and commentators monitoring live feeds than the actual Games themselves.

Welcome to the Twitterlympics. For the athletes that choose to partake on this social platform, their online performance is arguably more important for their reputation than their athleticism. This social connection has enabled people around the world to glimpse into the behind-the-scenes life of an Olympian. If they play their 140 characters right, these athletes can boost online adoration and rally fans into their corner.

However, some forget the scrutiny that accompanies a public profile. Say the wrong thing and it will quickly go viral. Just ask Greek athlete Voula Papchristou, or the latest cast-off Swiss soccer player Michel Morganella. These exiled athletes underestimated the power that this social media platform holds after their ignorant tweets were brought to the Olympic-scandal forefront.

If we have learnt anything about the Olympics and social media thus far, it’s that sport and online execution are really quite similar. For one, they both require skill, education, and training (re: the exiled athletes above). Most athletes are looking to score a gold medal as well as millions of followers so they can attract sponsors. Though this outlook may sound cynical, fame, glory, and dollar bills are what these Games have become, and now Twitter and its counterparts like Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube have given opportunities to those looking to boost their notoriety. It’s a competition both on and off the court, field, pool, track–you get the drift.

To help you partake in the action and keep score of both the tweets and medal counts, CBC has listed the Twitter handles of our Canadian athletes. So whether you’re into archery or badminton, connect with our Olympians (and don’t forget to send them a tweet of encouragement).

Looking to rally with other Olympic tweeters? Add these hashtags to your tweets: