USA's Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal on the podium after Team USA won the Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
ODD ANDERSEN/ AFP/ Getty Images
By Kia Kokalitcheva
August 22, 2016

Swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, but he’s also won another title: Most talked about athlete on Facebook during this year’s games in Rio.

The social network on Monday released data it collected between August 5 and 21 about its users’ Olympics-related activities. In total, more than 277 million Facebook users interacted with Olympics content on Facebook during that period, according to the company, through 1.5 billion “interactions,” or posts, comments, “likes,” and watching videos.

Phelps’ Live video broadcast, during which he confirmed his planned retirement just before his last race, was also the most watched live video with more than 3.97 million views.

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But Facebook users weren’t only interested in Phelps. Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo’s post congratulating Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt on his gold medals was the most popular non-video post, according to Facebook.

Meanwhile, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles’ photo with actor Zac Efron received the most “love” reactions from Facebook users. Facebook introduced “reactions” earlier this year as alternatives to its classic “like” button.

The most popular event among Facebook users was swimming followed by gymnastics. Facebook also says that more than 15.2 million users decorated their profile photos using Facebook’s Olympics-themed filter, which includes the Rio games’ logo along with a country flag.

But while the Olympics appear to have been a rewarding couple of weeks for Facebook, NBC, the official television broadcaster for the games seemed to struggle a bit. According to some analysts, viewership was down by as much as 17% compared to the previous Summer Games in London in 2012. Its total viewership across broadcast, cable, and digital works out to an average of 27.5 million viewers per night, down from the 30.3 million viewers four years ago.

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