Golf nearly quadrupled its Twitter following ©Getty Images

Golf, canoeing and curling are not perhaps the trio you think of when asked what three Olympic sports had the best 2016.

By one measure, however, this diverse bunch are in front of the field: the rate of growth of the Twitter followings of their respective International Federations (IFs).

Golf celebrated its return to the Olympic programme by nearly quadrupling its Twitter following, albeit from a surprisingly low base.

When I took this year’s readings, on December 16, the @OlympicGolf account had 17,200 followers, up from just 4,467 at the end of 2015.

You would have to say there is still plenty of room for improvement: Olympic men’s champion Justin Rose had 670,000 followers when last I checked.

Not far behind in terms of rate of growth was the International Canoe Federation’s @PlanetCanoe account.

This slalomed its way from 7,575 followers a year ago to 26,800 at present.

Completing the Twitter podium, most surprisingly of all to my mind since it was not a Winter Olympic year, was curling.

Canoeing places second on the list ©Getty Images
Canoeing places second on the list ©Getty Images

The @worldcurling account sped from 14,200 followers to 36,900 during what was the World Curling Federation’s 50th anniversary year, and is still growing fast.

Clearly someone in the organisation is applying the right sort of vigorous brushwork to the Twitter ice.

The good news for Olympic sport is that every single one of the 35 Twitter accounts monitored managed at least double-digit growth over the year.

The slowest rate of increase by my calculations was modern pentathlon, whose @TheUIPM account boosted its follower base by 13 per cent to 3,523 on the day I took the readings.


(Fastest-growing Twitter followings among 35 Olympic IFs in 2016 - based on December 16 figures)

SportGrowth percentageFollowersAccount name
1. Golf28517,200@OlympicGolf
2. Canoeing253.826,800@PlanetCanoe
3. Curling159.936,900@worldcurling
4. Table tennis93.532,900@ittfworld
5. Skating8825,000@ISU_Figure
6. Archery87.342,900@worldarchery
7. Fencing59.810,900@FIE_fencing
8. Gymnastics59.441,300@gymnastics
9. Rugby54.8274,000@WorldRugby
10. Luge48.21,008@FIL_Luge

Click here for full IF Twitter table, and to discover the identity of the new International Olympic Committee (IOC) Top Tweeter.