Google | Zeitgeist 2012 – The Sport List

Google puts together a Zeitgeist list every year, to give us an idea of what we were searching for online.


For the most part, these lists – covering categories like people, politicians, TV shows and songs – are predictable, but I thought this year’s sport list was interesting. So here it is:

Google’s Top Trending Sports

1. Synchronised swimming
2. Murderball
3. Wheelchair basketball
4. Volleyball
5. Archery
6. 100m sprint
7. Taekwondo
8. Gymnastics
9. Cycling
10. Athletics

Right off the bat, you’re probably as surprised as I am to see synchronised swimming at No.1. You’re probably also wondering where all the real sports are. Let me explain.

This Zeitgeist list is not just a list of the most searched terms of the year. Rather, it is a list of the fastest growing search terms, calculated using criteria like ‘largest percentage increase in searches from the year before’.

Without exception, all 10 sports featured at the Olympics or Paralympics. But why, out of 46 events, was there (relatively) so much interest in sync. swimming?

Is it really just because of Jenna Randall? You can understand why it might be.

jenna randall

Or am I not giving enough credit to the impact James Corden had on the sport in 2012?

It’s impossible to know which super pair of legs did more for the sport last year, but together they didn’t give anybody else a chance.

Still, it’s pleasing to see healthy interest in Paralympic sports in second and third.

Murderball, for those who didn’t Google it last year, is the affectionate name for wheelchair rugby. And kudos to the marketing guy who nicknamed it because everybody likes murder.


Murderball took the London Olympics by storm, selling out its 12,000 seat venue night after night, so it’s no surprise people were clicking to find out more about the sport.

Wheelchair basketball is also fairly hardcore and awesome, but was always going to be out-searched without a killer nickname. Something to work on before the next Games in Rio.

A special mention should go to Jade Jones, British Gold medallist in Taekwondo, for getting her sport into seventh spot. Rumour has it Taekwondo would’ve finished higher if people knew how to properly spell it. The search term “taikwondo” itself ranked 14th.

Considering the year cycling had – Tour de France victory for Britain, all the excitement ahead of and at the Olympics, and Lance Armstrong’s world falling apart – I’m a little surprised to see it down in ninth only. But such is search.

Finally, for what it’s worth, my top tip for Google’s Zeitgeist 2013 Sports list No.1 is lacrosse. I won’t be trying it myself, but I’ve got a feeling it’ll catch on in the UK. Wild card: dodgeball.

Under Armour Lacrosse Classic


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