Image from Tokyo 2020 Facebook page
At the closing ceremonies of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Japan clearly stole the show with its video teaser featuring everything the world loves about the country. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit on the year the country is to host the biggest sports tournament and it had to postpone it for a year.
Live audience was restricted so fans took to social media to support their athletes and keep with the developments of the Games. Facebook and Instagram collated the data that made the 2020 Tokyo Games memorable.
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Most talked about athletes
Gymnast Simone Biles is the most talked-about athlete following her earlier withdrawal from the games. She returned and earned a bronze medal. For earning the first-ever gold medal for her country, Philippine weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz trails Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra. British swimmer Tom Daley is in fifth place not only because he competed but also because of his knitting abilities. He made waves when his photo knitting at the poolside went viral.
Facebook also reports that the Philippines ranked as the fourth loudest country on the platform engaging about the Olympics over the course of the Games. Ahead of it are India, the US, Brazil, and followed by Mexico, completing the top 5 rankings.
Globally, athletes gained more than 75 million followers and drove more than 410 million interactions on Instagram over the course of the Games. They also created more than 300,000 Stories.
Skateboarder Rayssa Leal of Brazil added the most followers (5.8 million) and drove the most interactions (18.44 million) on Instagram of all athletes competing in Tokyo. She also had the most-liked Olympic-related Instagram post (4 million+ likes) and most-viewed Instagram video (11 million+ views) during the Games.
Meanwhile, together with Rayssa Leal, Simone Biles and Neeraj Chopra continued to dominate Instagram, ranking as part of the top mentioned athletes in the platform, and likewise gaining the most followers over the course of the Games globally.
Here’s a look at the complete standings based on data from July 23, 2021 to Aug. 8, 2021:
Loudest countries engaging about the Olympics over the course of the Games:
(Ranked by number of people talking about Olympics on Facebook)
- United States
Most mentioned sports on Facebook over the course of the Games (globally):
- Track and Field
Most mentioned athletes on Facebook over the course of the Games (globally):
- Simone Biles
- Neeraj Chopra
- Hidilyn Diaz
- Suni Lee
- Tom Daley
Top Emojis on Facebook over the course of the Games (globally):
- ❤️ – Red Heart
- 👏 – Clapping Hands Sign
- 😂 – Face with Tears of Joy
Days with the most Olympic-related conversation on Facebook:
- Saturday, Aug 7th (Neeraj Chopra wins gold for India, Team USA basketball wins gold)
- Wednesday, July 28th (the day after Simone Biles withdraws from the gymnastics team competition)
- Monday, Aug 2nd (Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu win gold in badminton)
Global athlete Facebook post that drove the most interactions over the course of the Games:
Tai Tzu Ying’s post thanking everyone for their support while she competed in Tokyo is the Facebook post from an athlete that drove the most interactions over the course of the Games, with more than 1.3 million interactions.
- Athletes gained more than 75 million followers on Instagram over the course of the Games.
- Athletes drove more than 410 million interactions on Instagram over the course of the Games.
- Athletes posted more than 300,000 stories on Instagram over the course of the Games.
Most mentioned athletes on Instagram over the course of the Games (globally):
- Neeraj Chopra (Track and Field, India) / @neeraj____chopra
- Simone Biles (Gymnastics, USA) / @simonebiles
- Rayssa Leal (Skateboarding, Brazil) / @rayssalealsk8
- Greysia Polii (Badminton, Indonesia) / @greyspolii
- Apriyani Rahayu (Badminton, Indonesia) / @r.apriyanig
Athletes who gained the most Instagram followers over the course of the Games (globally):
- Rayssa Leal (Skateboarding, Brazil) – 5.8 million (+667% increase)
- Neeraj Chopra (Track and Field, India) – 2.6 million (+1.9m% increase)
- Simone Biles (Gymnastics, USA) – 2.3 million (+53% increase)
- Rebeca Andrade (Gymnastics, Brazil) – 2.1 million (+868% increase)
- Italo Ferreira (Surfing, Brazil) – 1.8 million (+175% increase)
- Valentina Acosta Giraldo (Archery, Colombia) – 1.6 million (+623% increase)
- Douglas Souza (Volleyball, Brazil) – 1.4 million (+78% increase)
- Tom Daley (Diving, Great Britain) – 1.259 million (+60% increase)
- Leticia Bufoni (Skateboarding, Brazil) – 1.249 million (+41% increase)
- Sunisa Lee (Gymnastics, USA) – 1.242 million (+511% increase)
Athletes who drove the most interactions on Instagram during the Games (globally):
- Rayssa Leal (Skateboarding, Brazil) – 18.44 million
- Simone Biles (Gymnastics, USA) – 17.9 million
- Dani Alves (Football, Brazil) – 12.59 million
- Rebeca Andrade (Gymnastics, Brazil) – 10.33 million
- Italo Ferreira (Surfing, Brazil) – 7.97 million
- Douglas Souza (Football, Brazil) – 7.67 million
- Suni Lee (Gymnastics, USA) – 6.3 million
- Luka Doncic (Basketball, Slovenia) – 4.84 million
- Tai Tzu-Ying (Badminton, Taiwan) – 4.72 million
- Gabriel Medina (Surfing, Brazil) – 4.70 million
Most-liked Instagram post from an athlete (globally):
Rayssa Leal’s photo album celebrating her silver medal in skateboarding is the most-liked post from an athlete over the course of the Games, with more than four million likes.
Most-viewed Instagram video by an athlete:
Rayssa Leal’s video of her skateboarding journey is the most-liked video from an athlete over the course of the Games, with more than 11 million views.