Online Trends

#PyeongChang2018 summary – K-pop, golden boy and…

The Olympic Games in PyeongChang have gone down in history. The most important winter sports event attracted millions of people from all around the world. How many Internet users wrote about it? What was the biggest buzz about? Read more to find out!

92 national teams plus athletes from Russia (competing under the neutral Olympic flag) took part in this year’s Olympics. Athletes rivaled in 102 competitions, from 15 different sports disciplines.

The first eruption of Olympic-Games-related mentions took place, of course, on the day of the opening ceremony. What’s interesting, the highest peak of global discussion wasn’t related to sports but… Korean-Chinese EXO band that performed at the closing event. Even before this day, on February 21st there were more mentions made about the singers than about the athletes – the peak was caused by a press conference announcing the performance of the band.

#PyeongChang2018 – mentions dynamic

The Olympic Games have always been a social and cultural event. The time of peace, symbolized by the Olympic fire. If any of you, however, is looking for evidence that today it’s not so much about sports but more about pop culture – the graph above may be a strong evidence. To understand the scale of the phenomenon, it is also worth to look at the number of likes and shares of the following tweets from the Russian-language account “Olympic Games”:

On the Russian-language account of “Олимпийские игры” medalists from this country, in comparison to EXO, “won” a symbolic number of retweets and likes.

Before we move on to the sport again, I must admit that I didn’t have any idea about the existence of EXO. Some of you may be in the same position, so let me paste this video here, which on Youtube gathered the only… 180 million views!

How much was written about the Olympics in Europe?

But let’s get back to sport. It’s a well known fact that the Scandinavians are the kings of winter. The medal classification of this year’s games confirms this trend – Norwegians won it with 39 medals. And how did the number of internauts talking about the games spread? In Europe, the most frequent discussions with the hashtag #PyeongChang2018 were… French! Swedes, Norwegians and Finns have made very few references in comparison to other countries, which is clearly visible on the following map:

Number of mentions about #PyeongChang2018 in Europe. The darker the blue, the more mentions.

To be fair, however, we should consider not only the number of mentions but also the percentage of discussion on other topics in general. In such comparison, the Scandinavians look a bit better. And the winner is… Slovenia!

It’s time for even more data. Let’s look at, for example, the percentage share of women in the discussion:

As you can see, the Russian and Romanian women have the greatest interest in the Olympics. They used the hashtag #PyeongChang2018 much more often than men from these countries. Comparing both maps, you can discover an interesting relation – where the olympics are the least popular, almost all the mentions come from men (Iberian Peninsula). You can spot hardly any mentions from Spanish and Portuguese women.

What was especially interesting for internauts?

A golden child of American snowboard – this is how we can call Red Gerard, who won the first medal for USA this year. There would be nothing strange about it, if not for the fact that the teenager almost overslept for his competition, because… he had been watching Brooklyn 9-9 until late the night before. A moment before the start, his roommate woke him up and Red, rushing out of the room, realized that he had forgotten his jacket – in this case it was also a friend that helped, lending his own. Winning gold in slopestyle, the seventeen-year-old not only opened the Olympics to the Americans but also became the youngest medalist in this discipline in the national history. What’s more, he also became the first Olympic medalist who was born in 2000.

No wonder that America fell in love with Gerard. During press conference Red honestly admitted that he was not aware of the rank of the Olympic Games and… what kind of snaps he got from friends:

There was also a big echo in the USA caused by the statement of radio host, Patrick Connor about another American gold medalist in this discipline – Chloe Kim. The journalist called the youngest Olympic champion in the history of snowboarding … “a piece of hot ass”, saying that he can not wait for April 23, when she turns 18.

As a result of these comments the journalist lost his job. Not the first time – earlier, due to other offensive statements, his programs were removed. This is how the mentions sentiment around the journalist looked like on 15-16 February:

Analyzing the statements of Internet users, we may wonder how important sports’ results really are in light of such event, and how much is it about the popularity contest or the sales and advertising race. One thing is for sure – to get reliable answers, it is worth to look at what’s stored in terabytes of internet data.

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