11 (possibly) gaffe-worthy athletes to follow during the Olympic Games

As is the case with every major international event in the last two to three years, in which Twitter has achieved its full enmeshment into popular culture, we yet again are being promised that this Olympics will be the most tweeted event of all time. Really? Yeah, well, colour me bored.

Sure the London Games set to kick off today will, in partnership with US broadcaster NBC, be officially “curated” by Twitter. This means that millions of tweets from, in addition to less interesting people, the stars of the show, the athletes themselves, will be available on a single page.

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However, is that really what we want?

Sure the curation process makes things simpler, but here’s what “official” curation means: anything vaguely juicy or controversial — and let’s be honest, we’re always 10% hoping a celeb figure will make a gaffe on Twitter — will be cut out.

As such, until London 2012’s additions to the “8 Olympic moments caught on YouTube that’ll make you wince,” – which of course will be the 2012 Games’ social media hits – the best we can hope for is some hapless athlete to tweet something they really shouldn’t have.

In that regard, here’s my pick of the top 11 accounts to watch during the Olympic Games. I can’t promise there’ll be a gaffe, but as some of the most loved Olympians, sure to cause a furry of headlines, here’s to hoping…

Anyway, we all need something to watch during the air-pistol finals.

Amanda Beard
A seven-time Olympic medallist, Amanda Beard is probably most well known for her decision to go down the route of the Kim Kardashians of this world, even though she has a real talent, and pose for Playboy. After being called out for supporting PETA in a (again nude) campaign, after having talked of her love of leather in prior campaigns, Beard, like her compatriot countryman and fellow swimmer Michael Phelps, is a high likelihood for a Twitter gaffe; a likelihood which hanging out with Bill O’Reilly will only compound.

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps was one the biggest stars of the Beijing Olympics but he’s already proven himself to be gaffe-prone after allowing himself to be shot partaking in the “holy herb”. Then, however, he was not on Twitter and hence it was not TwitPic-ed. Phelps did eventually join Twitter and made headlines last year at the World Aquatics Championships in China, he managed to beat the Great Firewall with his tweets.

Usain Bolt
Blink and you’ll miss him — at least on the track that is. On Twitter, when not tweeting back and forth with celebs such as Snoop Dogg, Bolt is a prodigious user of Instagram. Though, it doesn’t look like he’s found filters yet. Clearly racing ahead much of his competition, even in the technology game, he’s also got an app.

Oscar Pistorius
South Africa’s golden-boy. His mere inclusion in the South African Olympic team has already caused a stir in the sporting world with questions around whether his (in)famous “blades” give him an unfair advantage. Through it all though, he’s remembered his Twitter following.

Venus & Serena Williams
For both these ladies of the court, each Olympic medalists, London 2012 is already special. For Venus, not only will she be contender in the games, but she also carried the Olympic Torch, dedicating to everyone suffering from Autoimmune Disease, an illness she revealed she suffered from in 2011.

For Serena, following her stunning victory earlier this on the courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London 2012 presents an unprecedented opportunity to be queen of Wimbledon, twice in a year. Here’s to hoping she still is.

Tom Daley
British diver Tom Daley, not only — like all other post-80s babies — does not possess a soul, but at only 18 years of age is definitely one day going to commit a Twitter gaffe. That Daley is a prodigious tweeter and has taken a somewhat risqué approach in marketing his autobiography, only makes this more likely. Yes, in less two decades he’d apparently amassed enough life experience for an autobiography. Autobiography or none, he tweets like all other 18 year olds though.

Oh yes, ladies and gentlegays, I herewith present Young Master Daley and other members of the Great Britain diving team lipsynching to LMFAO’s “Sexy & I Know It” on YouTube.

Stephanie Rice
Perhaps not likely to commit a gaffe, seeing as she was involved in one already following her tweeting “’Suck on that f***ots” when the Wallabies defeated the Springboks in 2010, Australian swimmer Stephanie Rice is one to watch. Judging by some of her tweets, the mouthy Rice falls on the conservative side of the scale.

Matthew Mitcham
One of the few openly gay athletes, not only participating in these games, but in sport in general; judging by this tweet, the inspirational Australian diver Matthew Mitcham was probably not involved in the rush which allegedly brought down what I shall euphemistically refer to as gay social network, Grindr, when Olympians arrived in London.

Jordan Burroughs
With this brilliant handle and infectious nature on Twitter, one can’t help but wish US wrestler Jordan Burroughs all the best for these games; his fortune cookie certainly did.

Lolo Jones
Arguably the most successful athlete on the fast-paced witty streets of Twitter-ville, US hurdler Lolo Jones did it the old fashioned way: just being damned hilarious. With her “injury” healed, here’s to hoping she can replicate that success on the track.

Voula Papachristou (Dishonorable mention)
In the process of this column being prepared, surprise, surprise, our very first medal for Twitter gaffes at London 2012 was awarded! As Memeburn reported, Voula Papachristou was due to leave for London from Greece, but a “joke” she’d tweeted earlier that day led to her being barred from the games. Since deleted, the original message is said to have read; “With so many Africans in Greece… At least the West Nile mosquitoes will eat home made (sic) food!!!”

Best of luck to the athletes of London 2012, Twitter gaffe or none; and toodle pip Ms Papachristou!

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