Usain Bolt Has Strengthened His Social Brand by Bringing Levity to Live Action

In-race grins and laughs light up Facebook and Twitter

Jamaican Usain Bolt has become an incomparable figure in Olympics history, leaving his mark in 2008, 2012, and now 2016. Bolt is the first male sprinter to hold the world record for both 100 meters and 200 meters in the fully automatic-timed era.

Bolt has always been a showman, with his "To Di World" victory pose, which actually comes from a Jamaican tourism ad. But during this Olympiad, smiling has become his signature stamp of triumph and set social media on fire. What makes these simple but smart moves work is that they seem organic, not gimmicky. Plus, he's typically made the facial gestures at the end of qualifying heats—that's the time for playfulness, especially when one is as dominant as Bolt—rather than during finals when medals are at stake.

Earlier this week, when Bolt cheekily grinned back at the competition, he stole the show on Facebook and Twitter. On Wednesday, he did it again, picking up 322,582 retweets, comments and likes to land the No. 1 slot with media technology company 4C, which has been feeding Adweek its daily engagement chart for the Summer Games.

This time, he finished his 200-meter qualifying heat by sharing a laugh with Canada's Andre De Grasse before they crossed the finish line. 

Here's No. 2 through No. 4 on 4C's list from Wednesday:

2. Thank the Lord
Brazilian soccer star Neymar promised his country an Olympic gold, and he's one step away from delivering. According to 4C, the honor he showed to his God after Brazil's semifinals win struck a chord with Facebook and Twitter users, inspiring 292,709 retweets, comments and likes.

3. The British are winning! The British are winning!
Great Britain has had a fantastic Olympics, winning 52 medals at press time to trail only the U.S. (94 medals) and China (54). Wednesday was no different. Britain's women's field hockey team advanced to the gold-medal round by beating New Zealand. Nearly 262,000 engagements ensued.

    

4. USA brings the broom
Americans Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin swept the women's 100-meter hurdles, taking the gold, silver and bronze medals with Rollins winning in 12.48 seconds. That continued the trend of women dominating the social games—not to mention the USA's historic ability to capture gold in track events. 

Rollins, Ali and Castlin's heroics garnered 226,212 retweets, comments and likes.