If your TikTok “For You” page looks like mine, you’ve seen a decent amount of Olympics-related videos. Whether they are videos of Shaun White eating a meal and reacting to a snowboard fail video, “haul” videos of athletes unpacking their two large duffel bags of apparel or tours of the Olympic village and hotel rooms, these posts are going viral.
If you’re not interested in sports, then you’re probably annoyed by these videos. However, there is still a lot to be said for these videos, as they give viewers a more human view of these physically (and perhaps skillfully) distant athletes.
Unless you’re bothered by the fact that most of these Olympic TikToks are showcasing the high lives of the athletes, these videos present an inside look into the Olympic experience that we otherwise wouldn’t get.
This is a plus of the immediacy and intimacy that social media provides; fans and viewers can get an insider’s perspective on an event that would otherwise be very distant. Instead of merely watching the events on TV and seeing the 60-second mini-stories for select athletes, TikTok allows fans, or just casual viewers, to see a little more of the Olympic lifestyle.
The personalities of these athletes are also shown. Shaun White, a US Olympic snowboarder, is most known for his TikToks where he “duets” videos and gives his reaction to them. However, when he traveled to Beijing for this year’s Olympics, he started documenting different parts of the experience. He recorded the dining hall, a face-recognition machine and his hotel room and answered questions about what he does with all of the clothing and what different parts of the Olympic village look like.
Other athletes, such as some of China’s women’s ice hockey players, posted trendy videos that showed fans around their Olympic hotel room. The TikTok was to the sound “Che La Luna” by Louis Prima, and the video was the trend, “things that just make sense.” The hockey players went around their hotel room and pointed out quirky features, just as in other videos for this trend.
This phenomenon is more interactive than past Olympic games. Fans are directly asking White and other athletes questions through their TikTok comment section, and these fans are getting the athletes’ genuine responses. They are also able to see the same TikTok trends that everyone else does used by these athletes to showcase their experiences. Relatability is established between viewers and otherwise distant athletes, making these competitors a bit more human. Fans are able to see the athletes’ personalities shine through.
Basic “Get Ready With Me” or “Outfit Check” videos are popular not only on YouTube but now on TikTok as well. Whether they are live videos or shorter “For You” page ones, these videos take watchers through athletes’ routines of getting ready for a day out at the Olympics. The athletes sometimes ask for advice on previous videos and then show their completed “outfits of the day” once they decide on what to wear.
Considering the large distance between, for lack of a better term, commonfolk and Olympic athletes, it would seem almost impossible for there to be a connection. Despite its downfalls, TikTok actually provides a platform where viewers and fans can feel closer to these high-level competitors.