The Olympic Ring logo.The 2012 London Olympics are in full swing and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been watching them pretty much non-stop since the opening ceremonies.

It doesn’t even really matter what event is being shown. If America is competing at anything I already know who I’m cheering for.

The Olympics so far haven’t been lacking in drama. Michael Phelps just finished swimming his way to 22 Olympic medals and our female gymnasts continue to perform well.

Not to mention that our Women’s beach volleyball team looks pretty much unbeatable. Oh yeah, and I guess we’re pretty good at basketball too.

But which of all these athletes is generating the most buzz online? Which athlete has been viewed the most times by the NBC online viewing community?

Gold Medal in Being Popular

With such big names in the Olympics like Lebron James, Usain Bolt, Tom Daley, and Michael Phelps it’s almost surprising the reigning queen of Olympic popularity is none other than United States gymnast Gabby Douglas. Not only is Douglas winning the popularity contest, but it’s not even close.

As a matter of fact, four out of the top five names are on the same US gymnastic team (the others being McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, and Aly Raisman). According to NBC its Michael Phelps in second place with 7.04 million views, but Gabby Douglas has over 18 million on her own.

With the games only half over, the NBC Olympic webpage already has over 1 billion page views. This puts them on pace to demolish the numbers reported for Olympic internet traffic during the Beijing games.

I for one am a little surprised that Phelps would have just half as many views online as Douglas. So what is it that makes America love those gymnasts so much?

America Loves an Underdog

I think what makes the Gymnastic team so much more compelling than Michael Phelps is that everyone expected Michael Phelps to win all his new medals this year. But watching our US Women’s Gymnastics team rise to the occasion and win Gold was so much more enthralling.

We adore our gymnasts this year for the same reason we love the movie ‘Rocky’. It’s so much more compelling to cheer for the underdog.

It will be interesting to see how the view count changes as the games continue. Will another compelling story emerge and dethrone our beloved gymnasts? What has been the most interesting part of the Olympics so far for you?

Rob Hughes
Rob Hughes is a Paid Search Analyst at Big Leap who enjoys the creative aspect of online paid advertising. In his free time, Rob is a 3x Intramural Champion, a 17x Intramural Loser, and an avid climber of local mountains.