08/12/2012 04:27 EDT | Updated 10/12/2012 05:12 EDT

Olympics 2012: Twitter Takes Centre Stage For Athletes, Fans

The London Olympics had countless memorable moments — but for the first time many of them were captured online by the athletes themselves.

Social media websites like Twitter allowed fans and Olympians to interact with each other as the dramatic events of the Games unfolded.

"Dream come true. Is this real? Love to my family. The support has been amazing," tweeted Canadian women's soccer captain Christine Sinclair (@sincy12) after winning bronze on Aug. 9, adding the hashtag "#SeeTheeRise."

Added Sinclair later: "What a day! 4am and finally getting back to the village. Might be sleeping with the medal tonight."

Although Twitter was founded in 2006, it has exploded in popularity with 500 million users registered worldwide as of April. The social networking site has made for some entertaining interactions between athletes and fans.

"Thanks for the tweet!" said gold-medal winning Canadian trampolinist Rosie MacLennan (@RosieMacLennan) to teenage popstar Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on Aug. 6. "It's an unreal feeling hearing the national anthem & an honour to represent Canada in something I love!"

MacLennan also posted about the elaborate celebrations after winning her event.

"Off to Canada Olympic House to celebrate!! Its been amazing being around family and friends and sharing this exprience!" tweeted MacLennan, also on Aug. 6.

Bieber wasn't the only celebrity tweeting about the Olympics. American actor Samuel L. Jackson entertained his more than 1.3 million followers with his ongoing commentary on the Games.

"Okayyyy, everybody in this diving is built like 6 o'clock! They all took a Big dose of NOASSATALL!!," said Jackson on Aug. 8 while watching a diving competition.

Jackson was one of many users who commented on Canada's controversial 4-3 loss to the United States in the women's soccer semifinal.

"Lemme say though, those Canuck Ladies brought da noise! They came to WIN! Ehhh?!!" said Jackson on Aug. 6 after being criticized by some Canadian fans online.

Twitter also gave Canada's men's 4x100-metre relay team an outlet to express their disappointment after being disqualified from the race.

"That was the hardest thing I've ever had to go through in my life," said Justyn Warner (@justynwarner) on Saturday. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Love & so proud of my teammates."

Teammate Jared Connaughton (@jncoolc), whose misstep during the race led to the DQ, was equally gracious as his name came forward as Canada's potential flagbearer for the closing ceremonies Sunday.

"I'm honored to be considered for closing ceremonies flag bearer, but, if I can't have my three teammates with me, then I'm not interested!" said Connaughton.

Mark Tewksbury (@marktewks), a former Olympian who served as Canada's Chef de Mission at the London Games, was particularly active on Twitter throughout the two-week event. Every day he tweeted about Canada's upcoming events and made sure to congratulate all Canadian athletes on completing their events.

"A huge shout out to our last day of @CDNOlympicTeam competitors - athletics, mountain bike, modern pentathlon and wrestling all up still," said Tewksbury early Sunday morning.

"Congrats to @CDNOlympicTeam @richardwienberger for winning canada's first Olympic medal in open water swimming," said Tewksbury on Aug. 10 after Wienberger won bronze.

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