Olympics most tweeted event in 2012

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An election victory tweet from president Barack Obama -- "Four more years" with a picture of him hugging his wife -- was the most retweeted ever, but the US election was topped by the Olympics as the most tweeted event this year.

Obama's tweet was retweeted more than 810 000 times, Twitter said as it published a list of the most tweeted events in 2012. "Within hours, that Tweet simultaneously became the most retweeted of 2012, and the most retweeted ever. In fact, retweets of that simple message came from people in more than 200 countries around the world," Twitter spokeswoman Rachael Horwitz said.

Twitter users were busiest during the final vote count for the presidential elections, sending 327 452 tweets per minute on election night on their way to a tally of 31 million election tweets for the day.

The 2012 Olympic Games in London had the most overall tweets of any event, with 150 million sent over the 16 days.

Usain Bolt's golden win in the 200 meters topped 80 000 tweets per minute but he did not achieve the highest Olympic peak on Twitter. That was seen during the closing ceremony when 115 000 tweets per minute were sent as 1990s British pop band the Spice Girls performed.

Syria, where a bloody civil war still plays out, was the most talked about country in 2012 but sports and pop culture dominated the tally of tweets. Behind Obama was pop star Justin Bieber. His tweet, "RIP Avalanna. i love you" sent when a six-year-old fan died from a rare form of brain cancer, was retweeted more than 220 000 times.

Third most repeated in 2012 was a profanity-laced tweet from Green Bay Packers NFL player TJ Lang, when he blasted a controversial call by a substitute referee officiating during a referee dispute. That was retweeted 98 000 times.

This was the third year running that the micro-blogging site published its top Twitter trends, offering a barometer to assess the biggest events in social media.

Superstorm Sandy, which slammed the densely populated US East Coast in late October, killing more than 100 people, flooding wide areas and knocking out power for millions, attracted more than 20 million tweets between 27 October and 1 November.

European football made the list of top tweets when Spain's Juan Mata scored as his side downed Italy 4-0 in the Euro 2012 final - sparking 267 200 tweets a minute.

News of pop star Whitney Houston's death in February generated more than 10 million tweets, peaking at 73 662 per minute.

Romantic comedy "Think Like a Man" was the most tweeted movie this year, topping "The Hunger Games", "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises".

Rapper Rick Ross, who notched his fourth number one album on the Billboard 200 chart this year, was the most talked about music artist.

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