While TeamGB is still waiting for its first medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, America has a new hero. 17 year old Chloe Kim has claimed a gold on the snowboarding halfpipe - but she’s also won something arguably more important.
Today Gizmodo UK can reveal that Kim has added around 149,152 followers to her Twitter account since the start of the Games - which puts her in a much better position for a post-games gold rush of paid endorsements and sponsored tweets, thanks not just due to her medal, but also her social media reach.
At 10am GMT on the 9th February - just before the opening ceremony kicked off, Kim had only 9,699 followers. After last night’s victory - which was perfectly timed for US prime time viewing, at the time of writing her follower count is now at 158,851.
In fact, here’s a graph showing her follower count since the start of the games - the times are all in GMT, aka the The One True Timezone:
That jump at the end shows the Twitter pile on happened incredibly quickly - presumably as millions of people tuned in to watch the Snowboarding. The small uptick just before the massive increase probably has something to do with Kim tweeting while taking part in the qualifying rounds.
If we zoom the graph to just the last 12 hours, we can see how quickly the follower pile-on happened. The blue line below shows her total followers, as shown on the left axis - and the right line shows the increase in 30 minutes increments, as noted on the right axis.
The big spike is Kim gaining 66,652 followers between 03:00 and 03:30 (22:00-22:30 EST). That’s over 37 new followers every second. Between 03:30 and 04:00, she piled on another 12,486. Crikey.
Chloe Kim isn’t the only US gold medal winner of the games - her teammates Redmond Gerard and Jamie Anderson also picked up golds in Men’s Slopestyle and Women’s Slopestyle respectively.
Sadly for them though, while the metal around their necks might be worth the same, they didn’t get the same social media boost.
Gerard started the Games with just 755 followers, and now sports a respectable 12,985. Anderson meanwhile is pretty much a grizzled Olympic veteran, having previously competed in Sochi - she started with a very decent 61,174 followers, and now has 68,341 - an increase of just 7,000. Perhaps scheduling didn’t help them much - their events took place in the afternoon US time, rather than evening prime time. Still, it’s the taking part that counts, right?
So what does this mean? Essentially, the real winner of the Olympics so far appears to be Chloe Kim. And you can probably look forward to seeing her advertising everything from sports clothing to soft drinks in the not too distant future. Congratulations, Chloe.
James O'Malley is Interim Editor of Gizmodo UK and tweets as @Psythor.