The 2012 Summer Olympic Games kick off soon, and it's easy to get overwhelmed with information. To help you cut through all the noise, we’ve rounded up our Top-25 favorite London-bound Twitter accounts to offer insight into the lives of your favorite Olympic athletes, the most up-to-the-minute coverage of Olympic news and in-depth analysis from the top sports journalists covering the London Games.
Shawn Johnson was one of the breakout stars from the 2008 Olympics, leaving Beijing with four medals for Team USA Gymnastics. Johnson had hoped to overcome a knee injury that had plagued her training since 2010 but recently announced her retirement from gymnastics and will not compete in the London Games. However, Johnson has stated that she will be cheering Team USA on from the stands. With a loyal following of 160,000+, Shawn Johnson may be the most influential Twitter source on women’s gymnastics. We expect her to provide quality analysis from gymnastics events at this year’s Olympic Games.
Despite being a relative newcomer to the world of social media, Kelli Anderson, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, offered solid online coverage of the US Olympic Swimming Trials. Look to Kelli to provide valuable insight on the proceedings in the pool at the London Games.
Around The Rings is the self-described “world leader for news coverage of the Olympics” and has covered every Olympics since 1992. They’ll have reporters on the scene at the London Games, so look to Around the Rings for exclusive content and interviews with your favorite Olympians. With the London games rapidly approaching, their Twitter presence has grown tremendously with an abundance of Olympics-related news being posted daily.
Judging from their extensive coverage of the Olympic torch relay, the BBC will serve as the go-to source for content from the host country.
Follow the official Twitter page of the U.S. Olympic Committee to receive up-to-the-minute news about Team USA from the Olympic Trials through the London Games. Expect to see links to stories featuring Team USA athletes and live updates from the London Olympics.
Four-time Olympian Hunter Kemper competes in one of the most grueling events in all of sports, the triathlon. The 36-year-old interweaves training details with comical tweets chronicling the trials of being a young father.
A year after she won five medals at the World Aquatic Championships, 17-year-old Missy Franklin is poised to turn into a bona fide star. She actively updates her Twitter feed, keeping an open dialogue with her fans. Follow her on Twitter now to get a head start on getting to know one of the promising young athletes for these upcoming games.
For those of us in the States, NBC is the exclusive broadcaster of the games. Their tweets should be a great resource for coverage and links to live video.
Unfamiliar with Mo Farah? This Somali-born distance runner is the UK’s “finest ever distance runner” and is a favorite to medal in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters following an outstanding performance at the 2011 World Championships. He already has 110,000 people following him on Twitter, and for good reason. His #MoBot move has recently gone viral, and he allows fans an inside glimpse into the training regimen of an elite Olympic athlete.
Rebecca Soni is a USA Swimming Olympian who medaled 3 times (1 gold, 2 silver) in the 2008 Olympic Games. She was the 2011 World Swimmer of the Year and should be a leader of the 2012 iteration of Team USA Swimming.
Ashton Eaton, a 24-year-old phenom, seems ahead of schedule in his rise to Decathlon stardom after unseating Trey Hardee and Bryan Clay at the Olympic Trials and setting a new world record score of 9039 despite very wet conditions. Eaton enters as the favorite to win the Decathlon, although anything can happen in this event as 2008 Gold Medalist Bryan Clay’s failure to qualify for Team USA illustrated. On Twitter, Eaton converses with fans and fellow competitors and will certainly be updating his fans with inside information as the “world’s greatest athlete” attempts to improve upon his world record.
Hope Solo is still riding a wave of support following the US Women’s Soccer National Team’s run to the finals of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She, along with many of her teammates, has used Twitter to increase awareness and interest in women’s soccer. Follow her to read the inside scoop on Team USA’s attempt to avenge their loss to Japan in the 2011 World Cup Finals.
Michael Phelps will again dominate media coverage of the upcoming Olympic Games. Despite increased competition from teammate Ryan Lochte, Phelps will likely cap his athletic career in London by becoming the most decorated Olympian since the modern games began. The reason he is not higher on this list is that his tweeting is pedestrian, at best. Regardless, Phelps is one of the most dominant athletes of all time and will be a topic of conversation throughout the Summer Olympics.
Usain Bolt may be the most electrifying athlete in all of sports, and all eyes will be on him as he attempts to not only win Olympic Gold, but improve upon his own records in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Bolt likes to post images of his training using Instagram and provides a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at how this dynamic track athlete trains.
Ryan Lochte, two-time winner of the World Swimmer of the Year Award, may just eclipse his rival Michael Phelps at the London Olympics. Lochte’s pre-Olympic hype is so great that even despite a less-than-stellar Twitter feed, he is a must-follow athlete. Lochte interacts consistently with his nearly 120,000 followers and offers fans previews of his upcoming training and races.
Steve Wilson is the European AP Sports Editor and has been covering the Olympics for 20 years. Residing in London, Steve will be one of the leading journalists covering these Olympic games. He will be a go-to source for all breaking Olympic news.
Just as Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson captured the hearts of the American people back in 2008, 16-year-old Gabby Douglas and 17-year-old Jordyn Wieber should continue the storied legacy of Team USA Gymnastics in London. Jordyn Wieber looks the part of a champion; she has been nearly unbeatable over the last four years, conceding an all-around title only twice over this time period. One of those defeats, however, came at the hands of Douglas in the VISA Championships, which also served as the US Olympic Trials.
Both athletes are very willing to interact with their fans on Twitter and offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of these incredible athletes as they train for the biggest moment of their athletic careers.
Abby Wambach, five-time winner of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year and co-captain of Team USA Women’s Soccer, is one of our favorite athletes to follow on Twitter. Constantly tweeting admiration for fellow Team USA athletes, Wambach’s Twitter page beams with USA pride.
For two Olympics, the dynamic duo of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh has dominated the sport of beach volleyball. They’ll be back again to defend their gold medal from Beijing; however, they face stiffer competition this time with Brazil’s top pair acting as the defending world champions from last summer. Both women have embraced Twitter as a means of expanding their sport's exposure, providing a daily account of their preparation for the Summer Olympics. A new mother, Walsh tweets often about her two young children and the challenges of parenthood. Chances are that if you tweet at one of the two, they’ll answer your question.
The youngest player from the US Women’s National Soccer Team, Alex Morgan burst onto the scene last summer in the FIFA World Cup with fiery play at forward in addition to her jaw-dropping looks. Her nearly 540,000 followers receive constant updates of Team USA’s training and commentary on other sporting events. Follow her now and be kept in the loop as the USWNT tries to avenge their loss to Japan in last year’s World Cup Finals.
When he’s not dominating the basketball court, LeBron James takes to Twitter to share the perks of being a star NBA athlete, and photos of Team USA's basketball team. Choose him if you’re going to follow any of the basketball players from this year’s version of the "Dream Team." We figure 5.4 million followers can't be wrong.
With over 1 million followers, the Olympics tweets should be filled with behind-the-scenes photos and insight and links to breaking news.
Lolo Jones was a near lock for Olympic gold in 2008 when an unfortunate misstep on the penultimate 33-inch hurdle resulted in a disappointing 7th-place finish. In the past month, Lolo has received enormous attention for her HBO Real Sports inteview in which she admitted that her most arduous challenge has not been training for the Olympics, but rather keeping her vow to remain a virgin until the 29-year-old is married. However, her sex life (or lack thereof) should not be the reason to follow Lolo on Twitter. Her social media talent matches her talent on the track. Unafraid to poke fun at herself, Lolo loves interacting with her fans and should provide some witty tweets from London. She hopes to put the ghosts of her past behind her and finally bring home Gold for Team USA in the 110m high hurdles.
—by Eric Chalifour