One of the best things that has ever happened to the Olympic Games is social media. The Olympics are all about countries all over the world coming together to engage in (relatively) friendly rivalry in sports, and with the advent of social media platforms — Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, just to name a few — the general public can fangirl with die-hards across the globe, cheering and rooting for their faves with well-placed emoji here and artfully-used filters there. In fact, the top Instagram emoji used during the Olympics certainly say a lot about fan culture and patriotism.
Perhaps it's not surprising that the most widely used emoji used on the 'gram during the Olympics were images of the Brazilian flag (number one), clapping hands (number two), the gold medal (number five), the smiley with heart eyes (number six), and the strong arm (number eight). Every one of these emoticons represents such pride, excitement, and appreciation for the athletes, the host country, the, ahem, country with the most medals (did I mention the American flag was number four?), and all of the hard work, strength, and determination that is behind every gold medal.
What's so inspirational about the breakdown of the emoji is that every one of them is positive and positively bursting with pride, even the crying-while-laughing guy. Every emoji on this list is essentially representative of every Olympic fan's feeling during the games: the respect and honor of the host country, the outpouring of love for every athlete competing in the games, the #Murica pride for the U.S.A's whopping 121 medals, the relentless rooting for your country, your athlete, your underdog to score a medal. Every single emoticon below is the feeling of the world collectively cheering on their faves, only in emoji form.
And truth be told, it's not just fans who used them either. Olympic athletes all over the world were all about that social media life during the games, uses pretty much every single one of the above emoji across Instagram. Just take one look at any of the Final Five's 'grams from Rio, and you'll see a wealth of Olympics-related emoji to corresponding with their medal-winning photos. And hey, maybe the athletes' use of the emoji helped to propel their popularity on the 'gram.
Of course, it's not as if fans exactly need a nudge to root for their idols — and these top Instagram emoji are the representation of what it means to be a die-hard fan. Clapping hands emoticons and all.