According to tracking data gathered from the various social media outlets that allow us normies to tell Olympians how much we heart them, usual suspects like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Gabby Douglas and Misty-May Treanor racked up the most traffic before and during this summer's games. No surprises there, but based on a comparison of social media activity preceding and during the games, number crunchers at AddThis figured out that the five athletes who recorded the highest buzz increases were all women because this Olympics, in case you haven't heard already, was the year that female athletes saved the United States from global embarrassment by being generally awesome.
Wired's Lainna Fader is quick to point out, however, that the increased interest in female athletes isn't necessarily evidence that all members of the viewing public are commending them on their athletic prowess — just as many social media gadflies were likely to discuss female athletes' physical appearance as their superhuman feats of strength and speed. Though Gabby Douglas, for example, beat out Michael Phelps as the "Most-Clicked Athlete" on NBCOlympics.com by a whopping 11 million pageviews, internet chatter was just as likely to focus on her hair as her Catwomanly agility. Fader explains that, though the U.S. Women's gymnastics team became veritable superstars after winning Olympic gold, plenty of trolls contributed not-so-pleasant opinions to the general internet discussion: