David Owen ©ITG

With Buenos Aires' big Olympic Moment fast approaching, it is fitting that Argentina's Gerardo Werthein should retain his status as top International Olympic Committee (IOC) Tweeter for a second year.

The 62-year-old businessman increased his follower count by a further 57 per cent to 435,000 in 2017 to retain his crown, ahead of Qatar's Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Indeed, insidethegames' latest annual review of the Olympic Twittersphere uncovered a decided link between future Olympic host-cities and IOC members whose respective followings on the social media platform increased most significantly in 2017.

Paris 2024 chairman Tony Estanguet boosted his follower numbers by more than 150 per cent in climbing from sixth to fourth in the rankings.

The former canoeing champion is now comfortably the top European Tweeter among IOC members.

In addition, IOC vice-president Anita DeFrantz, an ex-oarswoman from the United States, has burst into the top 20.

And, lower down the rankings, another Frenchman, former hurdler Guy Drut, took to Twitter in 2017, amassing 1,217 followers.

Besides DeFrantz - whose opening of a new Twitter account last August appears to have been motivated by publication of a new memoir, My Olympic Life, as well as Los Angeles' then imminent designation as host-city of the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games - there were two further new entrants to the top 20.

Gerardo Werthein is the top International Olympic Committee Tweeter ©Getty Images
Gerardo Werthein is the top International Olympic Committee Tweeter ©Getty Images

Sneaking in at number 20 is the Indian IOC member Nita Ambani.

In addition to the account we have included - @ambaninitaa, which is managed by her and her team - it seems relevant to mention that a fan site - @nitamambani - boasts 235,000 followers.

The highest new entry, though, was the Dominican Republic's Luís Mejía Oviedo, who became an IOC member only in September, but who has been on Twitter since 2013.

Not surprisingly, his election at the IOC Session in Lima on September 15 merited a few Tweets.

"The voting for the new IOC members is beginning at 11.51am with an electronic vote," he reported from Peru. "Eight of us have been nominated. We are in the process now."

Mejía’s account is pretty much exclusively in Spanish and it is worth underlining that IOC members' Twitter is far from an English-only zone.

Of the top six IOC Tweeters, half are from largely Spanish-speaking countries and only one - the United States' Angela Ruggiero - is from a country where English is the main language.

Geographical diversity is also a feature, with 19 countries represented in the top 20; only the US has two representatives.

Last year will also go down as the year in which the IOC achieved full gender equality on Twitter.

Not only is the Top 20 comprised of ten members of either sex, but the next six in the rankings are evenly divided three and three.

Name
Country
Followers*
1. (1) Gerardo Werthein
Argentina
435,000
2. (3) Sheikh Tamim
Qatar
417,500
3. (2) Angela Ruggiero
United States
256,000
4. (6) Tony Estanguet
France
130,000
5. (4) Luís Alberto Moreno
Colombia
115,000
6. (5) Mikaela Cojuangco Jaworski
Philippines
86,100
7. (7) Kirsty Coventry
Zimbabwe
79,000
8. (8) Stefan Holm
Sweden
65,000
9. (10) Yelena Isinbaeva
Russia
59,700
10. (9) Hayley Wickenheiser
Canada
54,700
11. (11) Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah
Kuwait
23,900
12. (12) Sarah Walker
New Zealand
9,728
13. (13) Sergey Bubka
Ukraine
9,107
14. (14) Camiel Eurlings
Netherlands
8,037
15. (-) Luís Mejía Oviedo
Dominican Republic
6,827
16. (-) Anita DeFrantz
United States
6,307
17. (16) Prince Feisal
Jordan
5,292
18. (15) Sari Essayah
Finland
4,925
19. (17) Britta Heidemann
Germany
3,039
20. (-) Nita Ambani
India
2,718


United World Wrestling enjoyed a good Twitter year ©Getty Images
United World Wrestling enjoyed a good Twitter year ©Getty Images

The new ranking of 35 Olympic International Federations (IFs) shows, meanwhile, that 2017 was a particularly good year on Twitter for United World Wrestling (UWW) and for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

UWW enjoyed the fastest growth-rate of any Olympic IF in surging from tenth equal to sixth in the rankings.

The IAAF held steady in fifth spot, but is coming up fast in cycling's slipstream, having managed near 80 per cent growth in follower numbers in what was a world championship year.

Sport
Followers*
Account name
1. (1) Football
11,600,000
@FIFAcom
2. (2) Basketball
377,000
@FIBA
3. (3) Rugby
316,000
@WorldRugby
4. (4) Cycling
225,000
@UCI_cycling
5. (5) Athletics
213,000
@iaaforg
6. (10=) Wrestling
143,000
@wrestling
7. (6) Volleyball
137,000
@FIVBVolleyball
8. (7) Ice hockey
129,000
@IIHFHockey
9. (8) Triathlon
93,300
@worldtriathlon
10. (10=) Hockey
85,100
@FIH_Hockey
11. (9) Equestrian
84,100
@FEI_Global
12. (12) Skiing
75,100
@fisalpine
13. (13) Badminton
71,100
@bwfmedia
14. (15) Aquatics
61,100          
@fina1908
15. (16)  Gymnastics
52,200
@gymnastics
16. (17) Judo
49,700
@IntJudoFed
17. (14) Archery
46,900
@worldarchery
18. (18) Curling
44,600
@worldcurling
19. (23) Skating
43,800
@ISU_Figure
20. (20) Table tennis
41,800
@ittfworld
21. (19) Rowing
39,300
@WorldRowing
22. (24) Taekwondo
33,800
@WorldTaekwondo1
23. (21) Sailing
31,900
@worldsailing
24. (22) Canoeing
27,200
@PlanetCanoe
25. (25) Biathlon
25,500
@biathlonworld
26. (26) Tennis
24,800
@ ITF_Tennis
27. (28) Boxing
20,900
@AIBA_Boxing
28. (30) Handball
19.600
@ihf_info
29=. (29) Shooting
17,100
@ISSF_Shooting
29=. (27) Golf
17,100
@OlympicGolf
31. (31) Fencing
13,300
@FIE_fencing
32. (32) Weightlifting
13,200
@iwfnet
33. (33) Modern Pentathlon
3,886
@TheUIPM
34. (34) Bobsleigh/skeleton
3,803
@IBSFsliding
35. (35) Luge
1,358
@FIL_Luge

* Based on readings taken on December 23