According to the Olympic Athletes’ Hub of the International Olympic Committee, Kim was the 32nd most followed on social networking services with 1.39 million followers as of Monday, 19 days to the opening of the London Olympics. It was the top rank among Asian Olympic athletes. China’s basketball ace Yao Ming followed her closely in 33rd with 1.36 million followers.
The top two most followed were U.S. basketball superstars LeBron James with 16.47 million and Kobe Bryant with 13.46 million. Swiss tennis champ Roger Federer was third most popular with 11.01 million fans, followed by Rafael Nadal of Spain in fourth with 10.95 million. Brazil footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. placed fifth with 10.52 million.
|Kim Yu-na (Yonhap News)|
Kim was one of just two Winter Olympic athletes among top 40, along with U.S. snowboarder Shaun White in 17th with 3.24 million fans. She was the highest ranked female athlete in winter sports. The most popular female athlete across both summer and winter events was Russian tennis queen Maria Sharapova in eighth with 7.64 million followers. The Olympic Athletes’ Hub is a website the IOC launched to bring together social media updates from Olympian athletes, offering fans direct access to their favorite athletes. It ranks Olympic stars in terms of the number of SNS followers.