Through the first days of swimming at the Olympic Games in Rio, USA swimmers have dominated the story lines. It all starts with great performances in the water, but we also have to step back and see the cultural phenomenon in pop culture.
While we continue to keep our eyes on the pool, I want to turn an eye to some of the more fun pop culture features on swimming as well. Below are some of the best examples:
No pop culture list would be complete without a meme, especially one that was trending like #PhelpsFace. NBC even used it as a promotional graphic for tune-in to swimming. This candid shot from Phelps in the ready room was instant Internet gold. And still is.
LeBron Jumps In
There have been a steady stream of athlete appearances at swimming including Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and more. But LeBron James is King James on social as well with his 24 million followers on Instagram.
Conan on Instagram
Our communications team created custom swim caps for several celebrities to show their support for #SwimUnited and the U.S. Swim Team. Comedian Conan O’Brien was one of the first to share on Instagram.
IM AN OLYMPIAN!!! pic.twitter.com/bOkbwDcHJ9
— Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) August 9, 2016
Leslie Jones Goes to Rio If Conan was the first, Saturday Night Live cast member and Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones has been the most prolific supporter of swimming and TeamUSA. Her feed isn’t always family viewing, but her excitement is infectious and her support consistent. She told us she doesn’t know how to swim, so that is a great opportunity. [image] Ravens Stop a Preseason Game No matter what your NFL allegiances are, you have to appreciate that the Baltimore Ravens actually stopped a pre-season game in process to watch hometown favorite Michael Phelps swim.
— Nett (@Laylas_Mommy_13) August 12, 2016
I Got Next
When Simone Manuel won the 100m freestyle, a mother in Texas posted the I Got Next image of her daughter wanting to fill the shoes of Manuel. The twitter account with 14 followers when the night started, generated a tweet that now has more than 5,300 retweets and 11,000 likes as of this writing. It was so adorable, we had to share.
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) August 8, 2016
Seacrest Swim Cap Olympian Dana Vollmer convinced NBC host and radio personality Ryan Seacrest to wear a swim cap in order to see her medal. He did it.
“Gold Medal” to USA Swimming
The editors of the Sports Business Journal, the top sports industry trade publication awarded their gold medal to USA Swimming as the top sports business story of the first week of the Games. Through performances in the pool to press conferences, editor Tom Stinson said, “This is all under one banner – USA Swimming. I don’t think it’s an accident or a happy coincidence so I’m giving it (gold medal) to the whole organization.” There are also kudos for Michael Phelps’ agent Peter Carlisle, NBC commentator Rowdy Gaines and Missy Franklin.
Use the #SwimTrends hashtag and be a Swim Trend Spotter yourself and let me know what you think is important for this column and social media.
Matt Farrell is the Chief Marketing Officer of USA Swimming. Follow and share your #SwimTrends using the hashtag or tagging @MattFarrell_ on Twitter.