Searches for Oscar Pistorius, who stands accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of 14 February, have outstripped those for Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods at their peak over the past two years.
However, interest in the case is still nowhere near that of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which topped searches in Britain for 2011.
That Pistorius has garnered more attention than Woods in the period is hardly surprising. By 2011, Woods had largely put his indiscretions behind him by 2011 and spent most of the time after that slowly regaining the form that had made him the world’s best golfer.
It’s also obvious that for a long time Armstrong’s fight with the US anti-doping agency (USADA) was the bigger story. Even as Pistorius became the first double amputee to compete in the able-bodied Olympics in 2012, there were more searches for Armstrong. That makes sense. Armstrong was undoubtedly the more prominent sportsperson.
That the sudden spike in Pistorius searches comes so soon after the one which followed Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey is illustrative. At the time, it seemed as if the world was honed in on Armstrong. Now it looks like it’s just that much more honed in on the man once celebrated as the “Blade Runner”.
Unsurprisingly, the locus of attention on the Pistorius case has been in South Africa, although the paralympic multiple gold medalist’s global prominence is reflected by a high number of searches from the US, Canada and Western Europe.
It should be noted that Google Trends, are exactly that, trends and other versions of the search may turn up slightly different results.
Hat Tip: Google Africa.