Bolt tops Google

Bolt more popular than Phelps, Superman and Paris Hilton

By Steven Jackson
Sunday, August 24, 2008

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt is among the most popular men on the internet based on search trends.

This increased visibility will likely factor in Bolt’s management securing multi-million dollar contracts.

Graph showing Usain Bolt’s internet searches versus several well known celebrities. (Source: Google Trends)

On Friday, for every person searching for Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton, Ronaldinho, David Beckham, Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Jay-Z, or Oprah, there were 7.5 persons searching for Bolt, based on trend data from internet site Google. In fact Sunday Finance could not find an athlete, pop star or politican more searched for than Bolt following his world record wins in the 100-metre, 200-metre and 4x100 relay at the Olympics in Beijing, China.

Not even Superman is more visible online. For every person searching for Superman, five searched for Bolt up to Friday. It is not easy to beat Superman which is one of the most searched items on the internet. Sunday Finance compared the two, utilising Google Trends which analyses how many searches have been done for the terms over time. Google then shows the results graphically. In terms of news results there were 7,776 for Superman versus 39,216 for Bolt. The news section highlights most current webpages, which is important because simply typing in Superman or Bolt in the main search area will garner both old and new webpages-which of course would favour Superman many times over.

Bolt’s only competition is US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, freshly bolstered by his August 20 announcement of a running mate, but his win on Friday in the 4 x 100 relay will likely propel him beyond Obama by today. A wide cross section of nationalities, including Jamaicans, Chinese, Australians and Canadians are searching more for Bolt than Obama. However, Americans, which constitutes a large size of internet usage searches more for Obama. Comparatively, other US presidential hopeful John McCain is no running mate for Bolt who thrashes him in terms of internet popularity. The 6ft 5-inch Jamaican also towers over other popular political leaders, including George Bush and even Hitler.

Even his Olympic nemesis (in terms of media coverage) Michael Phelps is no longer a match for Bolt. Phelps, up to mid-week was probably the most searched person on the net, but on Friday for every 10 searches for the US swimmer, one more searched for Bolt. On Monday Phelps was five times more popular then Bolt, but lost the lead on Wednesday.

Before his World Record runs for Jamaica, Bolt was no where close to the popularity of any of these personalities, however his Olympic victory bolted him beyond them all, up to this moment. With the end of the Olympics, Bolt’s spike in popularity will likely wane, but for now he is a pop-star. Rock on, Bolt!

bit surprising considering Bolt wears underwear.

Nice to see athletics getting some attention. No better time to break WRs then during the Olympic Games, you have such a large audience. I would have liked to see a few other athletes challenge bolt a lil more though, hah.