Every athlete should have a fan as devoted as #OlympicNan.
The grandmother of British swimmer Adam Peaty has become a champion tweeter as she gushes about his achievements. With a Twitter biography that describes herself as “Proud Nan to a World Champion Breaststroker,” Mavis Williams, 74, is gaining followers who use the word “adorable” to describe her passion for Peaty.
“What race oooo I’m so proud he’s a gladiator well done,” she tweeted with such glee that she dispensed with punctuation after he broke the world record in the 100-meter breaststroke in Saturday’s heats. She stamped it with the British flag, shamrocks and clapping hands.
She was back on Twitter after Peaty broke that record again and took home gold Sunday night in the same event. “My Grandson has done it,” she tweeted.
Williams, who is from Uttoxeter, a town of 14,000 about 120 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of London, said she was introduced to Twitter by her daughter, Caroline, Adam’s mother. Her only goal was to get more followers than Caroline.
“You don’t go out as much as you do when you were younger, now do you?” she told The Associated Press on Sunday. “It’s given me a new interest and kept my brain working.”
Williams has, with a few hundred tweets and retweets, managed to capture attention with a simple chronicle of Peaty’s Olympic journey from her perspective.
There’s the buildup to Rio. There’s a picture of her at this year’s aquatics championships at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park next to some sort of mascot creature named Ray. There’s a picture of her beloved Adam in his Olympic uniform.
“Doesn’t my grandson look great in his Great Britain KIT,” tweeted Williams, whose Twitter handle is @Mavise42Mavis.
There’s even a thank you to the person who helped decorate her home in preparation for the games.
“I’m ready for Rio now thanks to my kind window cleaner who put my bunting up,” she tweeted.
Mostly, she’s so proud she’s bursting. She thinks her tweets help Adam and the team - just to let them know their fans are pulling for them from far away.
But her chronicle is also a reminder that those behind the athletes are sometimes on as much of a journey as the competitors themselves. And no matter how many followers she gets, when her friendly competition with Caroline is over, she plans to send out a thank-you tweet to all the people who decided to follow her. They’ve taught her a lot, after all.
“I think it’s nice to thank someone - even if it is just a tweet,” she said.