Twitter is changing the way that athletes and fans connect. Anyone can now get in touch with their favorite athletes or find out what they are doing without a filter.
This can be a double-edged sword, as the interaction is unprecedented and provides supporters with unparalleled insight, but it can also get many of these celebrity athletes in trouble.
Despite all the good that Twitter does, controversy is always lurking just around the corner. That became evident when Hope Solo and Lolo Jones both tweeted out some relatively harmless and minor thoughts that were spun into scandalous remarks.
Greek triple jumper Voula Papachristou was actually banned by the Hellenic Olympic Committee from competing in the 2012 London Summer Olympics for perceived racist remarks and a far right-leaning political display.
Regardless of manufactured conflict—such as Solo’s and Jones’—or Tweets deserving of outrage—like Papachristou’s—the medium isn’t going anywhere. More and more athletes are signing up to talk with fans, post pictures and break news.
Here are some that are competing in the 2012 Olympic Games that you should follow.
A large list of Olympic athlete Twitter handles can be found here.
The NBA MVP is seemingly enjoying his time in London. He posts a lot of pictures, some of which are quite humorous, such as an Instagram shot of USA teammate Kobe Bryant and a lookalike.
Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps)
Phelps is a straight shooter during interviews and on Twitter. He keeps his fans in the loop with how he’s feeling and what he’s doing. Sometimes the details are quite mundane, like when he let the world know he’s going to take a nap, which somehow garnered 800+ likes and retweets.
Nap time....💤— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) July 30, 2012
Ryan Lochte (@ryanlochte)
Lochte might be the best American swimmer in this Olympic Games, surpassing Phelps with his dominance thus far. However, his command of the Twitter platform is suspect, as he hilariously tweeted at himself for making a spelling error.
@ryanlochte I meant God has a plan not plain! Long day!— Ryan Lochte (@ryanlochte) July 30, 2012
Hope Solo (@hopesolo)
Solo bared it all for ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue last summer and hasn’t shied away from baring it all on Twitter in 2012.
The U.S. women’s national team goalie has called out former USA star and current commentator Brandi Chastain for her criticism of Solo and her teammates.
It’s made for interesting talk, but it’s not a true controversy.
Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13)
Morgan is as well known for her beauty as she is for her skill as a striker on the pitch. She burst onto the scene during the World Cup a year ago and has been a goal-scoring machine since.
Fortunately for many of her fans, the 23-year-old has been posting plenty of updates and even some pictures of her experiences at the London Games.
First purchase here in Manchester... Wearing it to Old Trafford for our walk through, gotta represent! twitter.com/alexmorgan13/s…— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) July 30, 2012
Missy Franklin (@FranklinMissy)
This 17-year-old swimmer has earned her first two medals of the Olympic Games already, grabbing a bronze in the team 4x100-meter freestyle and a gold in the 100-meter backstroke. She’s also gone viral for a Team USA “Call Me Maybe” video.
Jordyn Wieber (@jordyn_wieber)
The 17-year-old artistic gymnast is widely regarded as the best in the world. However, she failed to qualify for the all-around individual finals despite placing fourth overall due to a two-competitors-per-nation technicality.
Wieber is keeping her chin up and letting her supporters know that she is just fine via Twitter.
It's hard to explain these feelings.. But I'm extremely honored to be an Olympian and be a part of this team instagr.am/p/NsnD7_vVlv/— Jordyn Wieber (@jordyn_wieber) July 30, 2012
Lolo Jones (@lolojones)
Jones is a notable hurdler that may be more popular because of her beautiful looks, devotion to religion and public disclosure of her virginity.
Somehow, she sparked a mild hullabaloo after a harmless tweet about the United States' skill in shooting competitions.
This is an example of people twisting words and making them into something they aren’t—one of the biggest dangers of Twitter.
USA Men's Archery lost the gold medal to Italy but that's ok, we are Americans... When's da Gun shooting competition?— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) July 28, 2012