There are many views on using Social Media as an athlete during competition. As Maddie mentions below the neglect in competition is usually to send a message of focus to the competition and spectators. Of course there is also an element of protecting athletes from the 'haters'. This has always been a focus of England and Lions rugby tours. Only this year Eddie Jones claimed Australian border control were putting unnecessary checks in place to disrupt the team, not to mention that tv commercial. Sledging is common and with the direct and ease of social media there is no doubt it will be used to target athletes.
Interesting Samsung have given all athletes a free limited edition phone with social apps and minutes to communicate during the games (of course PokemonGo too). From chatting with athletes at the games and reviewing social sites it is apparent Twitter (for Western athletes) is the main choice to communicate. On the note freebies - Oakley have also continued another successful campaign by providing sunglasses to all athletes. Spot an outdoor spot where the sunglasses worn are not Oakley!
Most interesting is observing how individual's sponsors who are not approved sponsors for the games are leveraging the athletes. Whilst many subtle examples such as a watch in rowing are on offer a larger statement was made in the women's steeplechase by Emma Coburn who carried her New Balance spikes around her neck on winning Bronze whilst being careful not to break the precious rule 40. Since New Balance are not an official sponsor The USA team and did not have specific clearance this was a gorilla tactic by Coburn to ensure the 1000's of photos taken included her sponsors logo alongside official sponsors.
Whilst the majority of examples are B2C focused there are great opportunities for organisations to leverage athletes in a B2B capacity. Most importantly for a period after the games there is a no better opportunity to partner with an Olympic Athlete, particular for the countries had a huge amount of success and interest is high. The affiliation with a well driven, disciplined, hardworking and engaged individual is a fantastic example to share with your clients to reflect your organisations ethos. There are also many athletes who will be moving ahead to the next Olympiad that will be fantastic ambassadors to work alongside.
I can't do without my phone, unfortunately. There are lots of things to consider around Rio and, as a group, we've had a discussion about social media and what our policy should be. I love social media but I also know it can be a distraction and sometimes I'm guilty of that. It's OK when it's going well, but who knows how you'll react when it's a negative experience and you're being criticised? That's what scares me and I personally don't think I'll take that risk. I genuinely believe I can stay away from my Twitter mentions, trust me. In the past, teams have stayed away from social media completely during competitions, partly to send a message about their focus.