Crowds of flag-waving fans are absent from the Tokyo Olympics because of the pandemic. But the virtual bleachers on Facebook are buzzing with patriotic activity, as some countries outpacing for sheer Olympic energy.
The Philippines won online gold with the most active and engaged users talking about the Olympics on Facebook, according to data from the company released on Thursday, with the United States finishing second and India in third.
GRAPHICS COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
The results reflect a 24-hour period as of July 27. The company also looked at emoji use and athlete mentions on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Filipina weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz’s historic first gold medal for the country likely helped push the Philippines out on top, as Facebook lit up with comments and chatter basking in the win. Diaz not only bested the other contenders in the women’s 55kg category in Tokyo, she also set a new Olympic record.
The victory was especially welcome amid political polarizations, economic hardship, and ongoing pandemic restrictions in the Philippines.
In the time period covered by Facebook, 30-year-old Diaz became the most-mentioned athlete on the platform and the third most-mentioned on Instagram after her win on Monday, according to the company.
"Over that same span, the Philippines is the country talking about the Olympics the most on Facebook. And the Philippines flag is the third most-used emoji on the app," Facebook said in the newsletter.
Following Diaz in the most mentioned athletes on Facebook was American gymnastics star Simone Biles, who withdrew from events this week citing mental health concerns, and Brazilian teen skateboarder Rayssa Leal, who won a silver medal in the women’s street skateboarding event in Tokyo.
Biles stunned the sporting world with her decision to bow out, sparking a broader conversation about the pressures faced by elite athletes.
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