1. Everyone Is Falling in Love With Him
A quick look at Twittercounter.com shows just how enamored the world has become with Mr. Lochte since the Games began. Last Friday, the day of the Opening Ceremony, he had about 140,000 Twitter followers. This Friday, his 28th birthday, he's at about 650,000. For those scoring at home that's an increase of well over half a million Twitter followers. Jeah, as the saying the goes.
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Before the 2012 Olympics, Ryan Lochte said this year's Games were "his time." While he hasn't dominated at a historic level, he has done quite well for himself and will bring five medals home from London. He's also been one of the most buzzed about competitors, capturing the fascination of fans, broadcasters and social media users alike over the past week.
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Whether it's his extreme talent, rhinestone grill, competitive drive or infectious #jeah catchphrase, Lochte has emerged as one of 2012's brightest stars. In the past week alone, he's gained more than half a million Twitter followers. But he's a hard man to snag for an interview. So, in honor of Lochte's 28th birthday on Friday, we decided to see what we could learn about him the old-fashioned way -- through some good, honest Internet lurking.
We scanned his social media presence and emerged with 10 main takeaways about his character and personality. Scroll through gallery above to see what we learned.
But Lochte is far from the only Olympic athlete for whom social media has played an central role this year. The incredible growth of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other platforms since the 2008 Games in Beijing has changed the flow of information for Olympians and fans alike. With the 2012 Olympics not even halfway through, we've already seen two competitors -- a Greek triple jumper and a Swiss soccer player -- booted from competition by their respective countries' Olympic committees after posting racist tweets. Two British athletes, meanwhile -- diver Tom Daley and women's weightlifter Zoe Smith -- have taken to social media to stand up against vicious Twitter trolls.
BONUS GALLERY: The Must-Follow Olympians on Twitter
1. Lolo Jones
Jones, whose social media success we profiled in May, is the standard bearer for Olympians on Twitter. She's honest, hilarious, tweets often, and is a world class hurdler for the United States.
Thumbnail image courtesy Flickr, tobyandtaishan
This story originally published on Mashable here.