Evaluating U.S. Medalists' Social Growth
Of the 78 accounts observed, five were identified as outliers due to the size of their audiences (2M+). The growth timelines displayed here illustrate the justification for their exclusion. With entities such as Simone Biles and USA Basketball excluded, the impact of a Gold Medal performance is properly represented. The top step of the podium produces a 20% larger growth effect than either other medal. Silver Medal performances surprisingly yielded less growth than third-place finishes. However, after assessing the data further, this effect appears to be a result of the quantity of NGBs (6) that finished with a Silver Medal. As you will see in the following section, NGB accounts drew exponentially less growth than athlete accounts.
Taking a step back, we grouped player and team accounts by sport to observe when each primarily drew attention and the degree to which they did so, as illustrated by daily follower growth. As one may expect, gymnastics dominated this year’s Olympics narrative, particularly on July 29th, when Sunisa Lee claimed a Gold Medal in the women’s all-around competition. Athletics took precedence during the latter half of the Games, while swimming was relatively impactful throughout Tokyo 2020. Skateboarding, golf, and wrestling entities all experienced noteworthy growth as well.
Sunisa Lee’s success during the Olympics helped her earn a 17% share of social value among entities with fewer than 2 million followers. The USA Swimming and USA Volleyball team accounts each contributed more than $2.5M in value, while USA Baseball and USA softball combined for $1.3M in their sports’ Olympic returns. Despite far fewer medalists, swimming entities collectively outperformed their athletics counterparts as a result of Caeleb Dressel and Katie Ledecky’s presences.
Having assessed the medalists’ performances — from the perspectives of both audience size and social value production — we created sortable breakdowns of their key metrics. The tables allow for toggling between data highlighting change over the course of the Olympics, total performance, and average performance. Additionally, we have showcased three of the Games’ biggest winners: Sunisa Lee, Caeleb Dressel, and Sydney McLaughlin.
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