The Olympics are a hallowed ground for athletes from all over the world. The culmination of lifelong hard work and training for a chance to win the most prestigious piece of metal an athlete can wear around their neck.
Rio 2016 witnessed broken records, men and women transformed into legends, virtuous displays of sportsmanship but for India the games turned out to be a melancholy affair. Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal crashed out of the Games with an injury breaking more than a billion hearts back home.
The entire social media spectrum was flooded with Indian fans expressing their displeasure at the dismal showing of Indian athletes at Rio. From the entire Indian contingent, female athletes were among the better performers and it reflected in numbers on social media.
“It’s interesting to see that though the Olympics itself were a hot topic for many Indians, the super star women who did the country proud itself, were not very much talked about, even while the Olympics were going on. They only experienced much buzz and exposure after they won their medals” said Adele Coelho, Head of Marketing India, Middle East & Africa.
Indian fans were handed some respite when gymnast Dipa Karmakar became the first Indian gymnast to qualify for the final event, evoking hope and prayers back home. Her unprecedented entry into the final event of a previously unexplored territory for Indian athletes.
Dipa Karmakar’s name dominated the social media platforms in terms of impressions before her performance at the gymnastics final event. Freestyle wrestler Sakshi Malik and shuttler P.V. Sindhu were the other female athletes who enamoured fans on social media with their advances in their respective categories.
Leading up to her performance at the final Dipa Karmakar was leading the way until her eventual fourth place finish in the gymnastics final event. According to the data by Meltwater, Dipa Karmakar racked up 45.01k impressions in total over the duration of Rio 2016.
The wait for India’s first medal at Rio ended when Sakshi Malik finished third in the freestyle wrestling event post which she lead the way on social media with 93.69k total impressions.
P.V. Sindhu advanced to the finals of the Badminton event vying for the Gold against Carolina Marin from Spain. Following Sakshi Malik, P.V. Sindhu quickly managed to amass 151.04k impressions after she fell agonizingly short of a Gold, but nevertheless bettered India’s medal tally with a Silver.
Across the globe, Indian fans were the most vocal in their support of Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and P.V. Sindhu on social media followed by United States which chimed in with approximately 2k, 3k and 8k impressions for the Indian athletes respectively.
The Olympic Games unfolded on a much larger scale on social media with fans from across the world coming together to rally behind their homegrown talent, and Indian social media users were among the busiest fans across the world.