Phelps Creating Online Buzz

    August 13, 2008

U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps is having success in the Beijing Olympics that has led him to be the most talked about Olympic athlete on the Internet according to Nielsen Online.

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps
(Photo: Ciro Fusco/EPA)

In an analysis of online discussion on blogs and message boards, Phelps was the most talked about among more than 50 high profile athletes competing in Olympic basketball, gymnastics, beach volleyball and swimming.

Among these four sports, swimmers led in overall volume with 46 percent of the discussion, followed by basketball players with 38 percent. Gymnastics received 9 percent of the online discussion and beach volleyball 7 percent.

"It appears that swimming is benefiting from a number of interesting stories this year, including Michael Phelps’ race for gold, Dara Torres’ return to the games and Park Tae-Hwan’s win to bring home South Korea’s first-ever gold medal in swimming," said Jon Gibs, vice president, media analytics, Nielsen Online.

"As other events build momentum and the track and field competition begins, it will be interesting to follow the fan favorites online."

Other Olympic athletes creating a buzz online include basketball players Yao Ming from China and Americans Kobe Bryant and Lebron James as the U.S. and China met in the preliminary round.

U.S. swimmer Dara Torres was the fifth most talked about athlete followed by U.S. gymnast Shawn Johnson, French swimmer Laure Manaudo and U.S. beach volleyball player Keri Walsh.

U.S. swimmer Katie Hoff and U.S. volleyball player Misty May – Treanor rounded out the top 10.