The Beijing Winter Olympics coverage this year has differed from other Olympics regarding the level of exposure in the media. Athletes have taken ahold of social media platforms, especially TikTok, to give viewers and fans an inside look into their everyday routines at the Olympics. According to NBC, over 18 billion views have been generated on TikTok through users engaging with behind-the-scenes content of the Olympics through posts from athletes and coaches.
Athletes and coaches have been posting content such as unboxing videos of their gear, their outfit details of the day, filming themselves at events, showing what life is like in the Olympic village, training routines and more. According to The New York Times, competitors like snowboarder Maddie Mastro have also posted videos documenting life in Beijing, trips to the grocery store and the mandatory testing practices to ensure health amongst the athletes.
As these types of videos saturate TikTok, many students have engaged with Olympic content on social media.
“It makes the younger generation of athletes more interested and makes them want to be more involved in physical activity and their sport,” said sophomore Julia Palermo.
Some students comment on the impact of viewing these videos online, even if they do not typically tune into the Olympics.
“I wasn’t that interested in Olympians on TikTok, but when I do see videos, I often find it interesting especially all the different sports they play,” said sophomore Isabella Popoli.
For instance, snowboarder Shaun White of Team USA gave his followers on TikTok an inside look of his room at the Beijing Olympics. His video gained 4.8 million views and received positive feedback from fans in the comment section.
According to News12, “Donning his Team USA gear, the four-time Olympian walked around the spacious room, showcasing the various spots around the room. From his work area to his bedroom, most of his room was covered in Olympic gear and memorabilia.”
Many students say that viewing these athletes off the big screen adds a unique point of view.
“I personally do enjoy watching the level of interaction of Olympians on TikTok because I get to see what they do in their everyday routine rather than just their Olympic culture,” said Palermo.
Others say that the variety of athletes that are involved in this TikTok phenomenon adds diversity of thought to the Olympics overall.
“I think that people are learning more from other athletes through social media because the view on others is so much more expanded. We are able to watch highlight videos or just posts about other athletes as easy as a click of a button, which helps people learn,” said junior Adriana Franchino.
Some say these posts give Olympians a sense of normalcy.
“I think the TikTok videos the Olympians post show behind the scenes of what they are like when they are not on TV. It was very enjoyable to watch the videos. I feel that the TikToks build up the excitement for the 2022 Olympics,” said junior Francesca Compagno.