While Usain Bolt’s legs carried him around the Olympic track at lightning speed in the men’s 200-meter final in London on Thursday night, people around the world were tweeting in such great numbers it was something of a miracle the microblogging site’s servers didn’t start convulsing what with all the extra data they suddenly had to deal with.
In a tweet posted shortly after the race was over, the site announced that Bolt had set “a new Olympic Games conversation record with over 80,000 tweets per minute for his 200m victory.”
If he reads as fast as he runs, he should be able to get through them all in a couple of minutes.
One assumes most of those tweets came after the race, for if people were hammering away on their smartphone keyboards while the race was in progress, Bolt would’ve been over the line by the time they hit the Tweet button. Unless they have fingers as fast as this guy, that is.
Explaining at least part of the excitement was the fact that the Jamaican runner became the first athlete in the history of the Games to retain the Olympic 100-meter and 200-meter titles after winning both races in Beijing four years ago, thereby cementing his reputation as the world’s greatest sprinter ever. The remarkable athlete, who holds the world record for both distances, finished Thursday night’s race in a blistering 19.32 seconds.
Bolt is a regular user of Twitter himself, posting messages several times a day to his 1.3 million followers. Soon after his epic run, he tweeted, “Thanks to all my real fans and people who believe in me,” adding oh-so-modestly, “I am now a living legend that’s for sure.”
While 80,000 tweets per minute is certainly a lot, it pales into insignificance when compared with the current record for a sports event – in April a particularly gripping European soccer match between Spanish side Barcelona and British team Chelsea saw an astonishing 13,684 tweets per second toward the end of the game.