Canada’s Golden Girl

by Steve La Barbera

An Olympic Champion at 16, Twitter Explodes When Penny Oleksiak Wins Gold in Rio

At the time of writing, Canada had 8 medals so far at the Rio Olympics and young Penny is responsible foe exactly half of them… including the country’s only gold medal so far.

She did it by breaking the Olympic record time for the women’s 100-metre freestyle, finishing in and exact tie for gold with American Simone Manuel, in a time of 52.70 seconds. You can watch the race here.

And as the news spread across the land that she had won, Twitter exploded… More than 60,000 tweets in the first few hours, which were overnight hours for most Canadians. Here’s what the top words on our lexical map look like:

This is Canada’s second tie in the pool this Olympics, and consequently, the most re-tweeted post so far is this one from @TeamCanada, a shot of the two gold medalists still in the water.

And below we have a list of the top 10 hashtags related to the Twitter conversation about Canada’s first gold of the 2016 games.

List of all top hashtags (Number of times used in conversation)

1. #rio2016 (1463)
2. #gold (961)
3. #can (790)
4. #swimming (616)
5. #teamcanada (567)
6. #olympics (513)
7. #usa (209)
8. #breaking (116)
9. #ctvrio (64)
10. #gocanadago (56)

Here’s how the top 10 words from Twitter break down relative to the conversation about the Oleksiak win:

And these are the top influencers in the conversation around the gold medal win:

Not surprising the medalist herself has the most interactions on this subject

We see sports writer Bruce Arthur listed here after authoring this article. He makes a compelling case just hours after her win that because of her historic 4 medal performance, she is the obvious front runner to be Canada’s flag bearer at the closing ceremonies next week.

We’ll see if that happens, or perhaps week 2 of the games will reveal another epic performance. 100-metre hopeful Andre De Grasse for example gets to work on Saturday.

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