19 Rio Olympians You Need To Follow On Social Media

Professional athletes — they dab and Snapchat like the rest of us.

August 05, 2016

Unlike most things in 2016, having an engaged fanbase is not necessarily going to help you become a more successful career athlete. If you can run faster, jump higher, or score more points than the rest, then you’re going to make it; no audience engagement needed. But that’s not to say that sport doesn’t boast big personalities. Consider Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, and Pelé: they displayed no particular interest in winning over their audience or seeking celebrity, but it was impossible not to be drawn to them.

Those three figures existed in a time before social media offered us unparalleled access into the private lives of public figures. Now, it’s not uncommon to see a soccer player Instagramming his night with Justin Bieber, or Team U.S.A. basketball stars miming a Vanessa Carlton song on Snapchat. Sure, being visible online often helps big-name athletes keep their sponsors happy, but lots of them are simply good at the internet and want to let followers in on the excitement of their lives.


This summer’s Olympics will play out across more social platforms than ever before, and it’s fair to say that the best coverage of the Games will come from the athletes themselves. Check out The FADER’s picks out below and hit follow.

Boris Berian, U.S.A., 800m

Haters gonna hate 💩

A photo posted by boris berian (@borisgump800) on

Why follow? California-based Berian knows when to hit the dab, and dabbles in Batman cosplay at Halloween.


Twitter: @borisgump800
Instagram: @borisgump800

Sarah Attar, Saudi Arabia, Marathon

Yup, definitely always do my stretching here. 😎 // photo by @mlbourne #flystyle #stravarun #theuncommonthread

A photo posted by Sarah Attar (@sarahattar) on


Why Follow? In 2012, Attar was one of two women selected in the Saudi Arabian Olympics team after the country took female members for the first time. But in her spare time, Attar is a well-regarded photographer, who takes artistic photos of nature worthy of National Geographic.

Twitter: @theSarahAttar
Instagram: @sarahattar

Simone Biles, U.S.A., Gymnastics

bom dia 😘

A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

Why Follow? Biles is the teenage gymnast who has her own emojis. She’s one fifth of Team U.S.A. taking Squad Goals to Rio.

Twitter: @simone_biles
Instagram: @simonebiles
Snap: simonebiles

Neymar, Brazil, Soccer


A photo posted by Nj 🇧🇷 👻 neymarjr (@neymarjr) on

Why Follow? He’s already one of the most popular athletes on Instagram with over 55m followers, and Neymar knows how to hold his audience’s attention. He parties with Justin Bieber, connects with Steph Curry, and likes to show off his ever-growing tattoo collection.


Twitter: @neymarjr
Instagram: @neymarjr
Snap: Neymarjr

Seye Ogunlewe, Nigeria, 100m

TMO 2015

A photo posted by seye ogunlewe (@ogunlewe_seye) on


Why Follow? Nigeria’s fastest man tweets more about U.K. soccer club Manchester United than his own career, but he’s made it to the Olympics after 8 years of trying — and will hopefully bring his white tux to the Games.

Twitter: @seyeogunlewe
Instagram: @ogunlewe_seye

Ibtihaj Muhammad, U.S.A., Fencing

LA livin ☀️

A photo posted by Ibtihaj Muhammad (@ibtihajmuhammad) on

Why Follow? Muhammed is such a prominent figure on social media that she's got her own hashtag, #ibtihajneverstops. She is the first American woman to compete in the Games wearing a hijab. Recent highlights from her feed include the time she met Michelle Obama, and laughing along with her fellow Muslim athletes struggling to train as they fast during Ramadan.

Twitter: @IbtihajMuhammad
Instagram: @IbtihajMuhammad
Snap: ibtihajjj

Jodie Williams, G.B., 200m

Adventures make me smile 📸 @bengregz

A photo posted by JODIE WILLIAMS (@jodiealicia) on

Why Follow? Williams likes to keep things light, whether freaking out at seeing Beyoncé live or worrying about what to pack for Rio.


Twitter: @Jodiealicia27
Instagram: @Jodiealicia
Snap: Jodiealicia

Michelle Carter, U.S.A., Shot Put

A photo posted by Michelle Carter (@shotdiva) on


Why Follow? The shot putter uses #YouThrowGirl, an empowering take on “You go girl,” for her posts and likes to Periscope from her car after sessions, hosting impromptu Q&As with her fans.

Twitter: @ShotDiva
Instagram: @ShotDiva
Snap: ShotDiva

Usain Bolt, Jamaica, 100m

President And First Lady 🙌🏾

A photo posted by Usain St.Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) on

Why Follow? World’s fastest man Bolt brings his exuberant personality to the internet with his often hilarious posts. He recently Snapchatted his last KFC before the Olympics, saying “After this, it’s all work, baby.”

Twitter: @usainbolt
Instagram: @usainbolt
Snap: ugoboss1919

Miles Chamley-Watson, U.S.A., Fencing

Why Follow? Chamley-Watson describes himself as having “Millionaire Status, Billionaire Focus” in his Twitter bio. As his Insta shows, he’s been training to a soundtrack of Migos as he prepares to go for gold.


Twitter: @MChamleyWatson
Instagram: @MChamleyWatson

Luik triplets, Estonia, Marathon

🇪🇪 Estonian free time dresses. Vaba-aja riietuses. 📷 Rene Suurkaev #triotorio #teamestonia

A photo posted by Leila, Liina, Lily Luik (@triotorio) on


Why Follow? Nicknamed The Trio To Rio, Leila, Liina and Lily Luik will make history when they take part in the marathon at the Rio Olympics as the first triplets to complete in the Games. The sisters are always together and share jokey pictures, like this memorable #tbt.

Twitter: @TrioToRio
Instagram: @triotorio

Houry Gebeshian, Armenia, Gymnastics

I have arrived!!!! #Rio2016

A photo posted by Houry Gebeshian 🇦🇲 (@hourygebeshian) on

Why Follow? Massachusetts-born Houry represents her parents' native Armenia and, when she’s not competing, works as a physician’s assistant. Her posts — with some selfies in training gear and others in scrubs — candidly reflect the two side of her life.

Twitter: @HouryGebeshian
Instagram: @HouryGebeshian
Snap: HouryG2016

Claressa Shields, U.S.A., Boxing

Why Follow? Claressa “T-Rex” Shields is a favorite to win gold in Rio. She Snaps herself dancing to “Panda” and fills her Instagram with a mixture of training pictures and fun moments, like the time she told Usher she could beat him in a fight when they met at The ESPYs.


Twitter: @ClaressaShields
Instagram: @Claressashields
Snap: Klaressa2016

Muhammad Ali, G.B., Boxing

A photo posted by muhammad ali (@m.ali_96) on


Why Follow? With a name like his, there was always a good chance that Ali would become a boxer. The young British hopeful shows his prowess online and posts pictures from his impressive fights and jubilant celebrations.

Twitter: @malijnr1996
Instagram: @M.ALI_96

Brittney Griner, U.S.A., Basketball

@mccoughtry out here stunting on them boi! I need to step my game up! Lol

A video posted by BrittneyGriner (@brittneygriner) on

Why Follow? Brittney Griner has an outspoken political voice, and regularly posts about Black Lives Matter on her Twitter. She’s also hooked on Pokemon Go.

Twitter: @BrittneyGriner
Instagram: @BrittneyGriner

Vashti Cunningham, U.S.A., High Jump

Bow down slugs

A photo posted by Vashti Cunningham (@vashtizzle) on

Why Follow? Vashti Cunningham’s Twitter can be cryptic, but her Instagram is always popping with nods to '90s Tommy Hilfiger and dad hats.


Twitter: @vashtizzle_
Instagram: @vashtizzle
Snap: vashtizzle

Trayvon Bromell, U.S.A., 100m

#findyourbalance #TeamNB #newbalance #onmyway #roadtorio #godisgreat

A photo posted by BulletBromell (@trayvonbromell) on


Why Follow? Bromell is fast. Really fast. A massive rap fan, he regularly tweets about Lil Uzi Vert and Kodak Black and fills his timeline with hilarious memes. He’s also down to pose with a cute dog when the time is right.

Twitter: @trayvonbromell
Instagram: @trayvonbromell

Nia Ali, U.S.A., Heptathlon

Why Follow? Ali says her first love is dance, and posts cute videos like the one above, where she shows her fun choreographed moves to M-City J.R.’s “Addicted To My Ex.” Check out her cute Team U.S.A. bestie, Brianna Rollins, too.

Twitter: @ItsPooda
Instagram: :@NiaAli
Snap: itspooda

Serena Williams, U.S.A., Tennis

Just won title number 70 today in Rome... 70 never felt better

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

Why Follow? The tennis champion reads her own Vogue cover feature, plays with the Snapchat toast filter, and hangs out with Ciara.


Twitter: @serenawilliams
Instagram: @serenawilliams
Snap: SerenaUnmatched

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Brazil Week
19 Rio Olympians You Need To Follow On Social Media