Who to follow: Team GB Athletes to follow on Twitter during London 2012
A number of athletes all over the world use the micro-blogging site Twitter to interact with their fans and give unrivalled access to their training schedules, day-to-day-life and behind the scenes footage of their biggest races and Team GB are no different. While our finest athletes are in preparation for Team GB's first home Games since 1948 Twitter will form a strong bond between the public and their favourite athletes.
Thousands of messages of support have all ready poured into the accounts of the country's top runners, throwers, jumpers and the like as the excitement for the London Olympics races towards its climax on July 27 with the Danny Boyle inspired opening ceremony. Through Twitter and Facebook, like the European championships in Poland and Ukraine, the Olympics will be more social than any other previous summer Olympics with fans, pundits and athletes able to mix freely across a variety of social media platforms.
To prepare for London's welcoming of the world's eyes, we at Anchorfan list the top ten Team GB athletes to follow on Twitter this summer as the Olympic Games ascends on the British Isles.
In no particular order:
Adam Gemiil (@Adam_Gemili) – 100m – Footballer turned sprinter Gemili, 18 years of age, has had a meteoric rise in the sport since his decision to swap a potential career with League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge for life in the fast lane. Of Moroccan-Iranian descent, Gemili finished second behind Dwain Chambers in last week's Aviva trials which gave him a top-two finish to sit alongside his Olympic standard time previously recorded in the year and ensure his place at this year's Olympics. Gemili has a PB of 10.08 and was planning on competing in Junior World Championships before, somehwat surprisingly, qualifying for London 2012.
Gemili is a keen tweeter and engages freely with his 2,500+ followers which are sure to rise during the Games. Gemili offers tweets of pictures from college, replies to messages of support, engages with other athletes and even re-tweets Fatima Whitbread! To avoid any miss-pronunciations of his name (which causes irritation amongst us all), Gemili has previously tweeted, "Just to clear up, my surname is spelled 'Gemili' and pronounced 'Jem-ee-lee'"
Andy Baddeley (@runbadders) – 1500m – Baddeley finished 9th in the Bejing 1500m final and the 30 year-old is a medal contender this time round although will have to be at his best to do so. The British record-holder for 4x1500m relay, Baddeley was born in Upton on Merseyside and is a keen blogger through his website (http://andybaddeley.co.uk/) which gives real insight into his life and training.
Baddeley has had a quiet month on Twitter as he's prepared for the Aviva trials where he ensured his place at London 2012 with a win. The middle-distance runner is also a fan of the 'mobot' celebration. Inspired by Mo Farah and slammed by a certain red-top last week, Baddeley gave, "a cheeky MoBot celebration", to mark his win in Birmingham last weekend.
Tiffany Porter (@tiffofili) – 100m hurdles – The 24 year-old American-born hurdler has a real chance of gaining a medal at this year's Olympics and will be hoping that her time is now. Porter boasts the British 60m and 100m hurdle records, a World Championships 60m silver medal, and is a 5 time NCAA hurdle champion who is married to American hurdler Jeff Porter (@jeffporter1).
A keen tweeter of images and always offering an insight into her life as an athlete, Porter uses Twitter regularly to respond to fans' tweets as well as describing her support for her husband Jeff while competing in tournaments, "Man those 3 false starts had me going crazy over here. My neighbors probably think I'm being attacked. Oh well! @jeffporter1 good ish babe."
Christine Ohuruogu (@chrissyohuruogu) – 400m – The reigning 400m Olympic champion and former World and Commonwealth champion, Ohuruogu represents one of GB’s biggest medal hopes this summer. The nation will be behind her when she gets her defence of the 400m gold under way during which she is likely to be bombarded with well-wishing tweets.
Ohurougu is not one to tweet pictures although is happy to re-tweet images of herself with fellow Team GB athletes from race meets and sponsor events. With 6,500+ followers Ohurougu is well followed and engages often with her fans through Twitter. Ohurougu is all about her team and her sponsors and will surely tweet messages of support to fellow athletes throughout London 2012, "What can I say, was a great effort from the girls today, very proud to be part of the team. Thanks for all the support. We all appreciate it."
Dai Greene (@daigreene) – 400m hurdles – Another reigning World, European and Commonwealth champion, Greene is widely tipped for a medal at London 2012 in his first Olympic games. The Welshman, 26, will be desperate to make his mark on the world stage to add to his all ready stellar career in the sport which he has served so well in the colours of Great Britain.
Greene often tweets partner Sian Davies and friend Craig Pickering whilst enjoying back and forths with avid Twitter users such as Robbie Savage from other sporting backgrounds. A regular tweeter and a fan of the athletics related re-tweet, Greene does engage with followers but not as much as some of his fellow athletes.
Mo Farah (@Mo_Farah) – 5,000m & 10,000m - Farah is the World 5,000m champion and 5-time European champion. Farah will be competing in both 5,000m and 10,000m events at London 2012 and goes into the Olympics on the back of the defence of his 5,000m European crown in Helsinki. The 29 year-old, born in Somalia and living in America, is one of Team GB's most celebrated athletes and is sure to be in contention for medals this year.
Farah has started the Twitter craze 'mobot' since he unveiled the celebration and is currently re-tweeting mobot-ers the world over who send him pictures of their own variations on the celebration. With over 100,000 followers Farah is one of the most followed in the list and often tweets images of himself at events as well as tweeting his love for Arsenal football club, of which he is a massive fan.
Jessica Ennis (@J_Ennis) – Heptathlon & 100m hurdles - The London 2012 poster girl will be competing in both the 100m hurdles and heptathlon events, in what is her first Olympic Games. Ennis carries a great deal of expectation for hopes of a medal although faces stiff competition from Russia's Tatyana Chernova, the reigning World champion, but will draw inspiration from the support of Great Britain when it comes round to the heptathlon event.
Ennis often posts pictures of herself at a variety of events and is always keen to promote the delights of her home city Sheffield. Always tweeting and engaging Ennis gives the impression of a very personable athlete whose positivity is inspiring for any young athletes looking to follow in her footsteps. Following recent disappointment at the Aviva trials she tweeted, "Ahh gutted...wasted opportunity! Felt ready to run fast as well! Oh well a new experience to learn from! On to the next!"
Paula Radcliffe (@paulajradcliffe) – Marathon - One of the most celebrated marathon runners in the history of the sport but yet to medal at an Olympics following rather public failures highlighted by the sheer weight of expectation on her performances. Radcliffe will be determined to succeed at London 2012 and end her career on a high.
Radcliffe has ensured @Anchorfan that she will "not" be tweeting "while I am running!" after we asked her earlier in the week whether she would be tweeting during the Olympics which leads us to believe that she will be when not on the track. Radcliffe looks to respond to her huge fan base as much as possible and gives insight into her training and preparation for major events while she can also be outspoken. Radcliffe tweeted, "Not right Dwain! Insult to the crowd", after Dwain Chambers' recent foul mouthed outburst after winning the 100m race at the Aviva trial weekend in Birmingham.
Christian Malcolm (@ChristianM200) – 200m - A legend of British sprinting and a previous World championships bronze medallist, Malcolm is a very likeable and endearing character. The Welshman will be up against it at London 2012 when he competes in the 200m and, possibly, the 4x100m relay events. This will be Malcolm's fourth successive Olympic Games which itself represents an incredible achievement for the 33 yar-old from Cardiff.
Malcolm often tweets other athletes as well as replying to fans and can be relied upon for a re-tweet if your cause is deemed worthy of the Welsh sprinter's promotion through his 4,000+ following.
Perri Shakes-Dayton (@shakesdrayton) – 400m hurdles - Shakes-Drayton narrowly missed out on the last Olympic Games in Beijing, allowing Tasha Danvers to qualify and later achieve Bronze in the 400m hurdles event. Competing in what will be her first Olympics, Shakes-Drayton is certainly a medal hopeful and can even boast meeting and coaching Will Smith when the Men In Black star was promoting his latest film in the franchise earlier this year.
Shakes-Drayton admitted in a London Evening Standard interview that her one weakness in training is Twitter which gives you a pretty good idea of how active she is on the site. Often posts interviews, photos and videos of herself through her Twitter feed as well as inviting conversation and contributions from her 9,000+ followers. The 23 year-old tweets about a variety of things from what she's watching on television, "Gordon behind bars", through family duties, "Baby sitting my 3 year old cousin who is obsessed with my iPad. She's bored of the games on there. Any suitable app suggestions please?", and not stopping at her gratitude for passengers with loose change, "Times like these I'm grateful for anyone who has accidentally dropped coins down the inside of my car."