2021 Tokyo Olympics: Week 2 Athletes & Themes Brands Should Watch

As we wrap up week two of the Tokyo Olympics, there are even more stories to unpack with this week’s standout athletes. Of course, all the Olympic conversations are being hashed out online, which brands should consider for sentiment and messaging using consumer and media intelligence.

Here’s a glimpse at this week’s summary metrics surrounding the Tokyo Olympics:


Fig #1: This week’s summary metrics surrounding the Tokyo Olympics.

This is week two of our social listening coverage of the Olympic games, where we’ll look at the top athletes as ranked by social media mentions. You can see our week one coverage here to keep up with the action and insights, if you missed it.

Consumer and media intelligence offers insight into essential conversations that brands should be watching. We have the athletes topping consumer discussions, as well as critical themes detailed in our wrap-up below – check it out!

The athletes – and sports – dominating social media this week include:

  • Simone Biles for gymnastics
  • Elain Thompson-Herah in track
  • Aaron Chia for badminton
  • Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, also for badminton
  • And Ravi Kumar Dahiya with wrestling

Social listening is all about uncovering the voice of the consumer, so why not look at the crowd favorites dominating social media mentions this week for underlying themes? This week it’s all about the comeback and bronze medals. Let’s dive into the action!

Simone Biles

Simone Biles sent shockwaves throughout the world when she withdrew from the US team’s gymnastics final last week to focus on her mental health. It was a move that mirrored tennis star Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open in May for the same reasons. As such, mental health issues became a huge theme across the news and social media last week.

However, Biles wasn’t done yet. To the admiration and support of fans, Biles came back on Tuesday to win the bronze in the balance beam final, saying afterward, “I didn’t expect a medal today. I just wanted to go out there and do this for me, and that’s exactly what I did.”

It’s a comeback story that has resonated massively with fans across social media – it’s also a story that didn’t shape up at all how people expected it to when the Olympics got underway. Biles, who is widely seen as the best gymnast on the planet, was heavily favored to add to her collection of four Olympic gold medals substantially.

No one expected that Biles’s most popular story during the Olympics would involve her winning a bronze medal. Regardless, she is now tied the record for the most Olympic medals by a US gymnast after her win on Tuesday.

Simone Biles’ incredible story during the Tokyo Olympics is a testament to how quickly narratives can shift and turn out completely different than what was expected – that’s why brands should rely on consumer and media intelligence to stay on top of the story as it unfolds.

Elaine Thompson-Herah

Elaine Thompson-Herah is a Jamaican sprinter who specializes in the women’s 100 and 200-meter. Additionally, she’s the fastest woman alive. Florence Griffeth Joyner, who passed away in 1998, still holds unbeaten records in women’s track. However, Thompson-Herah broke Flo-Jo’s 100-meter Olympic record to win gold on Saturday, which stood for 33 years. It’s her second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.


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A post shared by Elaine Thompson Herah (@fastelaine)

After her record-breaking performance, Thompson-Herah lost access to her Instagram page after posting footage of her event, which the International Olympic Committee owns, thereby violating Instagram’s terms of service.

It was initially only supposed to be a two-day ban, but the videos were removed, and her access to her account was restored several hours later after tweeting, “So, see ya’ll in two days.”

The thing is, in such a high-profile event as the Olympics, a win brings with it huge opportunities for endorsements, sponsorships, and influencer marketing. Therefore, the big takeaway for brands here is to use your consumer and media intelligence tools to keep tabs on what your influencers are sharing.

A TOS or copyright violation can shut your campaign down in a heartbeat. Additionally, keeping a finger to the pulse of conversations such as this reveals sentiments that contradict the existing narrative, so you catch the snowball effect in its infancy.

Aaron Chia

Aaron Chia has lit up social media after winning bronze in doubles badminton with partner Soh Wooi Yik to bring Malaysia its first medal of the Tokyo Olympics. Again, a bronze medal isn’t the story most are looking for going in, but social media has a way of bringing out heartfelt stories that users resonate with.

For example, Chia (24), a father of two young daughters, was quoted last week saying, “I just want to make them proud of me. I’ve not met them for a while because of the quarantine training, but I’ve been in contact with them daily.”

Chia and Yik’s win brings a medal for their home country and resonates with social media because of the hardship of the pandemic and the perseverance to win no matter what. Chia’s story could also be a great jumping-off point for brands interested in a family angle that touches their consumers’ hearts and minds.

Anthony Sinisuka Ginting

The bronze medal appears to be the theme social media is interested in this week. Indonesian badminton star Anthony Sinisuka Ginting heated up the social media airwaves after winning bronze in the men’s singles badminton event – the first time the country has medaled in the event since the Athens Olympics in 2004.

He followed up an exciting day for Indonesia as Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu took home the country’s first-ever gold medal in the women’s doubles badminton event.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya

On Wednesday, Dahiya became only the second Indian wrestler to make an Olympic final round after a spectacular comeback against Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev. His story lit up mentions of his name on social media, propelling him into the top five mentions we’ve covered this week.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya

Dahiya faced two-time world champion in his 57 kg. weight class, Zavur Uguev. And he came away from Thursday’s final event with a silver medal – only the fifth Indian athlete to win silver in India’s Olympic history.

Dahiya appeared dejected after missing out on the gold medal, but what resonated with fans was his comeback story to get to the final event in the first place.

In conclusion, consumer and media intelligence shows us that none of the top stories on social media regarding the Tokyo Olympics this week have anything to do with winning the gold medal. Instead, social media users have gravitated towards heartfelt comeback stories that have garnered only bronze and silver.

This shows that we can make all the predictions we want as brands, but consumer and media intelligence tools reveal the only numbers that matter at the end of the day. So, stay tuned for our ongoing consumer and media intelligence coverage of the games, and be sure to put some of these emerging trends to work in your messaging strategies!

Posts about the Olympics stand at 1.5 million over the last day, resulting in a whopping 43 billion social media impressions. Not only that, but net sentiment has also risen to 73%, up from 23% this time last week and the 36% average since the games began. Those are incredible stats for any event. The world is watching, for sure. You should be too!

Also, don’t forget to reach out for a demo to see how world-class consumer and media intelligence tools can put your brand ahead of the competition – and into the limelight.

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