From triumph to scandal: Olympians in the social media spotlight

Did you know that Olympic track hopeful Lolo Jones is a virgin on the prowl for a date? Or that British swimmer Rebecca Adlington quit Twitterbecause meanies kept insulting her looks? The dirt that years ago would have been lost in the fray of the Olympic Games is now at the top of your Facebook feed.

In the lead-up to major sporting events, media have traditionally churned out human interest stories highlighting a softer side of the people we put on pedestals for their athletic prowess. We learn about their families, the obstacles they’ve overcome, their grueling diet and training regimen.

In the last few years however, with the rise of tabloid and citizen journalism, and of course social media, the story lines have changed. Now we read anecdotes about athletes deemed “too fat” for competition by Olympic bosses, no less. The human interest stories are still there, but as an information-obsessed population, our interests seem to have changed… Read more

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