Fandometrics In Depth: International Multi Sport Event Edition

For the last three weeks, a certain International Multi Sport Event has captured global attention. Starting with Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua’s spectacular, well-oiled entrance in the opening ceremonies and closing with Simone Biles posing for a selfie with literally everyone—here’s what it all looked like on Tumblr.

From August 3rd to August 21st, 2016, #Rio related tags were added to 8.1 million reblogs across Tumblr. And those same tags were searched almost 3 million times.

Let’s start by sport.

Even though soccer represented the most original posts tagged with sport names — 21% of all sports-related posts—gymnastics dominated the overall conversation, thanks to the #gymternet. Within the sports category, gymnastics represented:

  • 41% of all searches
  • 38% of all reblogs, and
  • 37% of all likes

Originally posted by stayweirdpeoples

Now let’s look at athletes. 

Of the hundreds of athletes competing at the International Multi Sport Event, 50 truly captured your hearts. They represented 13 different countries in 11 different sports and won a total of 66 awards made of different metals. 61% of those awards were the shiniest, and meant they were number one in the entire world. Good job!

American swimmer Michael Phelps was at the top of the heap. Of the 50 top athletes on Tumblr, he got:

  • 13% of all searches
  • 14% of all original posts

His success might have had something to do with his newest six medals or upcoming return to retirement, but if we’re honest, they were probably about his face.

Interestingly, gymnast Simone Biles earned the most likes and reblogs, with 14% and 15% of notes in the athletes category respectively—only slightly less impressive than five medals and a kiss from Zac Efron.

Some other big names on Tumblr: fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, rugby player Isadora Cerullo and diver Tom Daley.

And finally, here are the top five sports on Tumblr during The Games, broken down by the most reblogged athletes in each one.
Gold Medalist Caster Semenya Displays Grace Under Pressure
In a press conference with the medalists in the 800-meter race, journalists tried to focus the conversation on testosterone levels. The out South African runner pushed back.

South African gold medalist Caster Semenya continues to be the epitome of athleticism and class. Today, during a press conference with the other 800-meter medalists, the out athlete deflected invasive questions about both her and her fellow medalists’ genders. A reporter at the press conference asked all three women if they had been encouraged by the International Association of Athletics Federation, track and field’s governing body, to take medications that would reduce their testosterone levels. All three 800-meter medalists have been the object of much speculation about the possibility that they have a medical condition called hyperandrogenism, which means a higher-than-average level of testosterone.

After silver medalist Margaret Wambui responded to the question with an attempt to recenter the conversation on the race, Semenya spoke up and pushed back on the invasive inquiry, saying, 

“Excuse me, my friend. Tonight is all about performance. We are not here to talk about IAAF and speculations. Tonight is all about performance. This press conference is all about the 800-meter we ran today. So, thank you.”

Semenya came under intense scrutiny in 2009 after a number of stunning wins at the World Championships, and was subjected to “gender tests” by the IAAF. She was ultimately cleared to complete and won silver at the London Olympics in 2012. After Semenya’s stunning gold medal finish, British runner Lynsey Sharp complained that the IAAF’s new rules that no longer require hyperandrogenic women to take drugs to suppress their testosterone levels below certain levels gave Semenya an unfair advantage. Sharp finished sixth in the 800-meter race. There is currently no clear evidence than hyperandrogenic women have an athletic advantage.

During the press conference, Semenya also discussed the ways in which sport can unite people, saying:

“It is not about discriminating people and looking at people in terms of how they look, how they speak, and how they have run. It’s not about being masculine. It’s about sports. When you leave your apartment you don’t want to look at what you look like. You just want to do better. The message to people out there is to have fun and see what you can achieve. That’s what I want to say.”