A look at the Olympians who have come of age
TOKYO (AP) – At the Tokyo Games, athletes took to social media in innovative ways – with high profile results. Several niche sports Olympians have come to America through viral videos, with TikTok as their preferred platform.
Here’s a look at some of the breakout stars.
HOMETOWN: Cebu City, Philippines
EVENT: Women’s Street Skateboard (finished 7th out of 8 participants)
– TikTok: @margiedidal (1.5 million subscribers)
– Instagram: @margielyndidal (740,000 subscribers)
– Facebook: Margielyn Didal
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY: The 22-year-old rose to fame for her contagious positivity during skateboarding debut at the Tokyo Olympics. Many of his TikTok videos garner over a million views, with one of his dances on the Olympic skateboarding site reaching 16.5 million. Another clip of Didal dancing with 13-year-old contestant and Brazilian phenomenon Rayssa Leal scored 15.6 million.
SET THE SOCIAL MOMENT FOR GAMES: While much of Didal’s fame comes from his TikTok account, his most notable social moment came on Facebook. Didal posted a photo alongside famous skater Tony Hawk, with the caption “this guy asked me to take a photo with him and I let him do it because he looks like Tony Hawk”.
RESIDENCE: Mesa, Arizona
EVENT: Men’s Street Skateboard (Bronze Medal Winner)
– TikTok: @jagger_eaton (72.5,000 subscribers)
– Instagram: @jaggereaton (444k subscribers)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY: Eaton has grown in popularity by holistically and unabashedly presenting exactly who he is: a 20-year-old laid-back skateboarder. Her TikTok account features dance videos and behind the scenes of the life of a young American phenomenon named after Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.
DEFINITIVE SOCIAL MOMENT OF THE GAMES: Following his bronze medal in the men’s street final, Eaton went viral on social media for his nonchalant approach to the biggest competition of his career. The young star gained notoriety for the fan’s attraction to him and his humble approach to fame.
HOMETOWN: San Antonio, Texas
EVENT: Fencing – Women’s Epee (Individual, eliminated in the round of 16 / Team – eliminated in the quarter-finals)
– TikTok: @thishurleygurrl (1.9 million likes in total)
– Instagram: @thathurleygurrl (3,844 subscribers)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY: The self-proclaimed “warped fencing Olympian” joked on TikTok about losing her “bad” fencing match and not adjusting to her uniform. A three-time Olympian, Hurley gave viewers a glimpse into life in the Olympic Village, where she shared a room with her teammate and older sister Kelley and participated in the TikTok trend of pitching team issues.
DEFINITIVE SOCIAL MOMENT OF THE GAMES: Hurley received 3.3 million views on a video in which she lip-synced with audio on ‘minimize the press’ with the caption’ When everyone’s excited to watch your Olympic game to lose badly. A viewer comment, which garnered nearly 75,000 likes, said, “Reach the Olympics, lose hard and keep a sense of humor about it?” It’s gold in my book!
CITY OF ORIGIN: Imperatriz, Brazil
EVENT: Women’s Street Skateboard (Silver Medalist)
– TikTok: @jrayssaleal (3.4 million subscribers)
– Instagram: @ rayssalealsk8 (6.5 million subscribers)
– Twitter: @rayssaleal (416.2k subscribers)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY: At only 13 years old, Leal’s account is authentic and showcases his youth and positive attitude. She danced with skateboard competitors and did tricks at the skatepark. Many of Leal’s uploads to TikTok are typical dance videos, which, unlike those of a normal teenager, rack up millions of views.
DEFINITIVE SOCIAL MOMENT OF THE GAMES: Following his medal-winning skateboarding performance in Tokyo, Leal’s social media has exploded. Her most popular video, with 15.4 million views, shows her relaxing in front of the city lights of Tokyo.
RESIDENCE: San Diego, California
EVENT: Rugby 7s (eliminated in quarter-finals)
– TikTok: @ilonamaher (24.3 million likes in total)
– Instagram: @ilonamaher (79,000 subscribers)
– Twitter: @ilona_maher
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY: Maher gave TikTok viewers a glimpse of life inside the Olympic Village wearing a Team USA tie-dye bucket hat.
DEFINITIVE SOCIAL MOMENT OF THE GAMES: Like many other athletes in the Olympic Village, Maher and her rugby sevens teammates tested the cardboard beds in the athletes’ quarters. In the TikTok video which gained over 7 million views, Maher and his teammates are shown performing CPR on the bed, doing yoga, having a temper tantrum, beating up a fake thief, and Moreover.
CITY OF ORIGIN: Honolulu, Hawaii
EVENT: Men’s volleyball (eliminated from pool play)
– TikTok: @thelibero (9.2 million likes in total)
– Instagram: @erikshoji (75.1k subscribers)
– Twitter: @shojinator (15.2,000 subscribers)
– YouTube: Erik Shoji (64.1k subscribers)
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY: Shoji, two-time Olympian and bronze medalist at the Rio Games, specializes in daily vlogs documenting his experience in the Olympic Village. He frequently posts challenges or trends on social media featuring his teammates.
SET THE SOCIAL MOMENT FOR THE GAMES: Shoji has 1.1 million views on a video documenting arrival procedures at Tokyo Airport. A second video of Shoji testing the cardboard beds with his teammate and roommate Taylor Sander has received 3.2 million views.
CITY OF ORIGIN: Bratislava, Slovakia
EVENT: Artistic swimming (member of the senior and junior Slovak national team)
– TikTok: @sisa_solymosyova (1.2 million subscribers)
– Instagram: @sisa_solymosyova (77.3k subscribers)
– YouTube: Silvia Solymosyova
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALTY: Although not yet an Olympic athlete, Solymosyova has gained 1.2 million followers on TikTok by posting several types of videos – dancing, duets with other users and Q&A about synchronized swimming. – all under water. The 18-year-old Slovakian films herself dancing to the latest trends in glasses, swimming caps and nose clips. She has over 30 million likes on her TikTok videos.
SET THE SOCIAL MOMENT FOR GAMES: Solymosyova garnered 42 million views on a TikTok post that shows her dancing to a remix of “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion – done underwater.