Five-ring Circus

The 9 Olympians You Have to Follow on TikTok

It’s a behind-the-scenes view of the Tokyo Games.

A crowd of people wearing masks watch the live stream of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on smart phones next to the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 23, 2021.
The Olympics are here, and they’re on your phone. YASUYOSHI CHIBA/Getty Images

Cue the orchestral theme, light the torch, and open up TikTok: The Summer Olympics are here, and they are on your phone. Sure, the coverage on your television is available 24/7, too, but that doesn’t provide you the joy of watching Olympic athletes from the horizontal comfort of your own bed. (Plus, you will inevitably drop your phone on your face and cry in agony like you, too, are a world-class athlete competing under extreme duress.) Consider OlympicTok your backstage pass to the games. Go behind the scenes with athletes in the Olympic Village—yes, the one with the “anti-sex” beds—and see what really going on at the games.

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Below, we’ve rounded up nine of our favorite Olympic TikTokkersto help get you started as you enter this incredible world.

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Ilona Maher (Team USA, Women’s Rugby)

Maher’s TikToks are a good introduction to her—she’s very charming and extremely strong—but also her teammates and the sport of rugby in general, if that’s novel to you. Don’t miss the comments, where you’ll find no shortage of people begging Maher to run into them at full tilt.

Anastasia Pagonis (Team USA, Swimming)

A paralympic swimmer for Team USA, Pagonis, who is blind, holds both national and world records. She also makes good TikToks, because apparently being an elite athlete wasn’t impressive enough. Come for swimming content and a better understanding of the Paralympics, stay for the occasional glimpse of Radar, Pagonis’ guide dog.

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Kendall Chase (Team USA, Rowing)

The best part of the Olympics is becoming an unimpeachable armchair expert for two weeks. Chase has a great rowing primer to help you become that guy who talks over the TV because you just know everything about what’s going on. Also, if you were wondering who’s gay on the team—hypothetically of course I definitely wasn’t—Chase has that covered too.

Erik Shoji (Team USA, Volleyball)

Have you ever wanted to watch a men’s volleyball team shimmy? Great, because Erik Shoji is your guy. (Spoiler alert: Let’s hope the team is better at setting and spiking than they are at shimmying.) Shoji also posts plenty of behind the scenes content, in case you’ve also been wanting to watch an Olympian house sushi in a dining hall.

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Tilly Kearns (Team Australia, Water Polo)

The rules surrounding COVID at the Olympics are strict and plain; if you test positive, you cannot compete. Watch Kearns lay out all the PPE she and her teammates are using to try to stay healthy.

Kelly Robinson (Team USA, Volleyball)

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Apparently preparing to hopefully win a third Olympic medal doesn’t preclude Kelly Robinson from keeping up with the latest TikTok audios and trends.

Trenten Merrill (TeamUSA, Track and Field)

Please enjoy the freestyle bars of paralympian Trenten Merrill. That’s all.

Laurie Hernandez 

Before you go and tell me Hernandez isn’t competing in Tokyo: I know. She’s out with an injury, but she is on the ground in Japan as a commentator and her TikTok content is honestly delightful year-round.

Rebecca Edwards and Polly Swan (Team Great Britain, Rowing)

Under the handle @rowtotokyo, these rowers are logging their Olympic journey together. Watch them try on their uniforms, tour you around the Olympic village, and spot the infamous cardboard beds.

Literally the Entire Team from New Zealand

Taking TikTok very seriously, New Zealand has an entire official account devoted to its athletes. A good follow for a little bit of everything Olympic, where “everything” almost always includes some excellent accents.

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