Athletes from Tokyo Games have used social media in innovative ways, with notable results. Many Olympians representing niche sports have made their way to America via viral videos on TikTok.
Here are some of the top stars.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY : At the Tokyo Olympics, the 22-year old became a celebrity for her infectious positivity. Many of her TikTok videos have over one million views. One of her performances at the Olympic skateboarding venue saw 16.5 million viewers. Another video of Didal dancing with Rayssa Leal, a Brazilian skateboard phenom and 13-year-old competitor, earned 15.6 million.
DESCRIBING THE SOCIAL MOMENT OF GAMES: Didal’s TikTok account is a big part of her fame, but her most memorable social moment was on Facebook. Didal posted a photo of herself with Tony Hawk, a well-known skater, captioning it “this guy asked me to photograph him and I agreed because he looks just like Tony Hawk.”
SOCIAL MEDIA: Eaton gained fame by showing off his true self, a 20-year-old skateboarder. His TikTok account includes dancing videos and behind the scenes looks at the life a young American phenom named Mick Jagger.
DEFINING THE SOCIAL MOMENT OF GAMES: Eaton became a viral sensation for his nonchalant attitude to the most important competition of his career after he won bronze in the street finals. Because of his humble approach to fame and the attraction he received from fans, Eaton became a star youngster.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY : Hurley, a self-described “out-of shape fencing Olympian”, made jokes on TikTok about her losing her fencing match “badly”, and not fitting into her uniform. Hurley, a three-time Olympian, gave viewers a glimpse into life at the Olympic village. She shared a room in the Olympic village with Kelley, her older sister, and took part in the TikTok trend that showcased the team’s problems.
DESCRIBING THE SOCIAL MOMENT OF A GAMES: Hurley’s video about “minimizing the press” received nearly 3.3 million views. One viewer commented, “Make it to Olympics, lose badly and still have a sense of humor? This is gold in my book!
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY – Leal’s account, which she created at 13 years old is authentic and shows her youthful attitude. She performed tricks at the skatepark and danced with other skateboarders. Many of Leal’s TikTok uploads are the standard dancing video. These videos, unlike those of a typical teenager, have millions of views.
SOCIAL MOMENTS OF THE GAMES: Leal’s medal-winning performance in Tokyo skateboarding saw her social media explode. At 15.4 million views, her most popular video shows her relaxing in front the Tokyo lights.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY – Maher offered TikTok viewers a glimpse into life in the Olympic Village by wearing a Team USA bucket hat and tie-dye Team USA bucket cap.
DESCRIBING THE SOCIAL MOMENT OF GAMES: Maher and her rugby sevens team tested the cardboard beds used in athlete housing. Maher and her teammates perform CPR on the bed and do yoga. They also beat up a fake criminal in the TikTok video.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY – Shoji was a two time Olympian and bronze medalist in Rio Games. He specialized in daily vlogs that documented his experiences in the Olympic village. His teammates are often featured in his social media trends or challenges.
DESCRIBING THE SOCIAL MOMENT OF GAMES: Shoji’s video about the arrival process at Tokyo airport has been viewed over 1.1 million times. Shoji’s second video, in which he tested the cardboard beds together with Taylor Sander, his roommate, received 3.2 million hits.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY – Solymosyova, a social media specialist, gained 1.2 million TikTok users by posting a variety of videos, including dancing and duets with other users. Also, she answered Q&As about synchronized swim — all underwater. The 18-year old Slovakian girl films herself in swim goggles, a swim cap and a nose clip. Her TikTok videos have more than 30,000,000 likes.
DEFINING THE SOCIAL MOMENT OF GAMES: Solymosyova’s TikTok post has received 42 million views. It shows her dancing underwater to “WAP” by Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B.