TikTok’s growth has been explosive. A social media app that allows users to post short lip-synced videos, music, talent or comedy, the platform has been downloaded over 2.6 billion times globally. (source: detection tower) and has become a favorite of Gen Z digital natives.
Rather than the fancy, filtered Instagram posts, TikTok users celebrate all that is silly, funny, and overall authentic.
However, it is somewhat surprising that in recent weeks the platform has been inundated with content from Generation Z Olympians. Previously banned from using social media during the games, this year athletes have been banned from using social media during games. allowed to connect with fans online.
Using snippets from the Olympic Village, Q&A and “A Day in the Life Of” vlogs, the athletes not only provide us with behind-the-scenes footage for the very first time, but remind us that they are “normal” Teenagers too, with emotions and hormones that fly as they compete to be the best in the world at their individual sport.
Cardboard beds are popped up, panels are stuck on balconies to flirt with rival teams, ping-pong tournaments are held and pranks are played. While these young adults look almost superhuman through the lens of the big TV networks, the platform gave them a chance to show their personalities to the world and, as one user remarked, “appear to be people. normal “.
Olympians have been seen on Instagram for a long time, usually doing sponsored posts. Diver Tom Daley is currently Team GB’s biggest influencer, with 2 million Instagram followers and earning up to £ 6,845 per sponsored post (source: Casino Scores). Tennis player Andy Murray is right behind, also with 2 million followers and earning up to £ 5,887.50 per sponsored post.
But in true TikTok style, the most popular Olympians on the platform aren’t even household names.
Sam Fricker, a 19-year-old Australian diver has over a million followers. Posting on the platform up to 10 times a day, he documented his time in Tokyo with videos of himself slowly diving into the ocean at sunset, putting a mattress topper on his cardboard bed to make it look more soft, taking viewers into the Olympic canteen. where there is “whatever you could possibly want” to eat, and admitting that her favorite way to celebrate after a competition is “with a bag of lollipops”.
Last week, swimmer Adam Peaty drove TikTok users crazy as he appeared miming a rap song before winning an Olympic gold medal. The video has garnered over 570,000 likes, with user comments including “We live in an age where Olympic athletes casually do TikToks after winning a gold medal.”
Ilona Maher, a 24-year-old American rugby sevens player, stormed the platform in her search to find a “great alien demigod lookin athlete. Maher’s videos are an ironic, witty, and engaging glimpse into the action in Tokyo, amassing millions of views. Snippets of her modeling Ralph Lauren Olympic uniforms have gone viral, especially a colorful American bucket hat.
When asked by a user why Olympians don’t go up and talk to each other in person (increasingly using the platform to reach out to those they like to look like), Maher replied, “It’s not not that easy to go up to a six pack, seven romanian volleyball players and I shoot my shot. I’m working on it, but I don’t know if it’s in the cards for me.
Maher admitted that when not on the rugby pitch, she spends six hours a day on the app, creating content for the fans.
Filipino skater Margie Didal’s dance celebration video with 13-year-old Brazilian skater Rayssa Leal after winning silver has gained millions of views. His tomboy image, combined with wacky dance videos, has earned him a giant 1.5 million subscribers on the platform. She communicates with fans regularly, commenting recently that if a clip of her skateboarding at the Olympics hit a million views before midnight, she would “do a live performance and celebrate with you guys.”
The official Olympics TikTok account posted a range of content. Some are snippets of the athletes participating in the games, while others show off their incredible strength and skills in more unusual ways. Climbers vacuum their floors suspended from the ceiling, surfers eat grain while standing on a makeshift balance board, and a group of divers perform handstand on a treadmill. Unlike his stylized Instagram posts, Tom Daley is seen knitting in the stands while watching his teammates.
Caught at the exact moment of living their dreams, this new group of content creators is not only fascinating, but arguably one of the best things to hit the platform this year.