The Rio Olympics concluded last night, rather spectacularly with the mammoth Closing Ceremony leaving behind their mark on social media as the biggest sporting event to date. Over the course of two weeks, Rio 2016 sustained its unchallenged position at the top of social media trends.
The International Olympic Committee collaborated with Facebook to make Rio the runaway success it turned out to be. With more than 277 million people having more than 1.5 billion interactions on Facebook, Rio 2016 dominated the social media landscape since day one.
Facebook brought along their entire inventory of features to give their users the most immersive Olympic experience with Facebook Live and 360, nation specific profile picture frames for fans to support their respective teams and daily highlights and interview with athletes from around the world.
The social media giants’ tie up with individual athletes and participating nations resulted in Facebook’s platform being flooded with behind the scenes action from Rio that fans had never experienced before.
On a blog post, Facebook provided a snapshot of the most popular events, athletes and moments from the Rio Olympic Games.
Swimming was the biggest draw from among all the Olympic events, followed closely by Gymnastics and, Track and Field events. Soccer and Beach Volleyball rounded off the top 5 most popular events from Rio.
With the presence of Michael Phelps, fueled by rumour of his impending retirement and him eventually becoming the most decorated Olympian in the history of the Games, put the swimmer on top of the list of most mentioned athletes. Usain Bolt wasn’t too far behind as the Jamaican sprinter has always made news for his quirky antics on and off the track.
Native of the host country and one of the most followed footballers in the world, Neymar Jr came in third followed by American gymnastic prodigy Simone Biles and American swimmer Katie Ledeki.
Michael Phelps’ Facebook Live video where he announced his plan to retire after the Rio Olympics, was the most viewed Facebook Live video with more than 3.97 million views.
Countries that were most vocal whilst supporting their athletes were the host nation Brazil followed by the United States of America, United Kingdom, Mexico and India.
Usain Bolt’s domination on the track, where he captured a Gold medal in all three races he participated, for the third straight Olympics ushered in congratulatory messages from across the world. The most popular moment from Rio altogether was footballer Cristiano Ronaldo congratulating his close friend Usain Bolt in a Facebook post which racked up 1.5million likes and more than 16k shares.
Brazilian football team captain, Neymar winning the Gold medal with his team was the second most popular moment followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulating Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu after her Silver medal winning performance.
Zac Efron surprising his fan Simone Biles and Usain Bolt winning his first Gold medal at the Rio Olympics were the fourth and fifth most popular moment on Facebook.
Facebook’s special Olympic specific feature, Profile Frames was another successful feature and it was used by more than 15.2 million people across the world. India topped the list of countries that used this feature the most with Philippines and Pakistan second and third.
After dominating social media for more than two weeks, the Rio Olympics ended on a high note with Closing Ceremony attracting the biggest athletes, coupled with worldwide coverage by NBC and Facebook.
Retired Brazilian footballer and ambassador of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, Ronaldinho Gaucho, American Television celebrity, Ryan Seacrest and native athlete Mayra Aguiar were among the many who shared pictures and videos from the Closing Ceremony on Facebook.
Rio has left many other sporting events from the recent past behind in terms of engagement and popularity and will most certainly be the benchmark to determine the success of sporting events in the future.