Skip to main content
National Proxy 2.0: Controlling the Social Media of Olympians through National Identification
Communication & Sport (2016)
  • Christopher J Finlay
The affordances of social media technologies increasingly allow Olympians to directly communicate with global audiences. Olympians can thus become more powerful autonomous discursive actors, threatening traditional Olympic power dynamics that have protected lucrative Olympic media streams. And yet, Olympians have yet to use social media technology to fully exercise their autonomy. This article adopts a social construction of technology lens within a larger critical discourse analysis framework to analyze the reticent behavior of social media–enabled Olympians. It is suggested that their social media voices are constrained by a powerful set of obligations to their nation-state. These obligations can be understood as ritualistic deep play national proxy identifications, which are constructed and reinforced by Olympic policies and practices, as well as larger sociocultural contextual factors. This argument is explicated through an analysis of Olympics policy documents and case studies from the first two Olympiads, where social media had a major impact: the London 2012 Games and the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
  • Olympics,
  • Nationalism,
  • Social Media,
  • Twitter,
  • Deep Play,
  • Organizational Communication
Publication Date
Winter December, 2016
Citation Information
Christopher J Finlay. "National Proxy 2.0: Controlling the Social Media of Olympians through National Identification" Communication & Sport (2016)
Available at: