The presidential election and its fallout have dominated our collective consciousness so much these past few months, anything that happened before it seems like it’s from a previous lifetime. Case in point: Does it feel right to you that the Olympics, not the election, was the most searched event of 2016? It doesn’t to us, but that’s what Google says happened in their Year in Search report. Michael Phelps was also the most-searched person not to have been a major party candidate for President.
For all of the controversy surrounding the games, and the predictable lack of lasting benefits, they seem an oddly positive outlier on the top searched events, considering the rest of the top five finishes with (in order): the election, the Orlando shooting, Brexit, and the Zika virus. The darkness of that list is pretty indicative of how rough 2016 was.
But back to sports for a second — one of Google’s search categories was in the top searched GIFs, and guess what was number two? This magnificence:
As for the most searched athletes, behind Phelps was everyone’s favorite recent example of the cover-up being worse than the crime: Ryan Lochte! Yes, that 32-year-old boy managed to stay in the news for a while due to the meandering saga of his petty drunken vandalism-turned-fake-robbery, so he gets up there as well.
The only non-Olympian athlete to make it into the top five was, in an upset, neither LeBron James nor Steph Curry, but Cam Newton — no doubt due to the millions of folks nervously searching, “Did Cam Newton dab today?” Even having spent the 2016 season in a down year, he still managed to rack up enough views for his playoff run and annoyed press conferences to break in with the likes of Simone Biles.