How Team USA rugby player Ilona Maher became an overnight star with funny TikTok videos


Ilona Maher hasn’t even competed in her event at her first-ever Olympic Games yet, but the America rugby player has already become an overnight sensation thanks to her prolific TikTok presence.

The 24-year-old has offered social media users an extensive inside look at what it’s like for Olympic athletes behind the scenes, filming videos of the Olympic village’s dining halls, Team USA’s outfits, and those infamous cardboard beds they’re sleeping on.

But the Burlington, Vermont native has become especially popular for her sense of humor, which she has showed off in dozens of videos that show her goofing off with her teammates, replying to fans, and ogling her sexy fellow athletes.

Social media sensation: American rugby player Ilona Maher has quickly become one of the Olympics’ biggest TikTok stars

Debut: Maher, who played for Quinnipiac University, is representing Team USA at the Olympics for the first time

Debut: Maher, who played for Quinnipiac University, is representing Team USA at the Olympics for the first time

Superstar: She has been prolific on TikTok since arriving at the Olympic village — and has earned legions of fans

Superstar: She has been prolific on TikTok since arriving at the Olympic village — and has earned legions of fans

Some of her most popular videos are funny takes on flirting at the Olympics, with Maher checking out hot Olympic athletes

Some of her most popular videos are funny takes on flirting at the Olympics, with Maher checking out hot Olympic athletes

Creme de la creme! Some of her most popular videos are funny takes on flirting at the Olympics, with Maher checking out hot Olympic athletes

Ready to go! She and her team have their first match on Wednesday against China

Ready to go! She and her team have their first match on Wednesday against China

Maher began playing rugby at age 17, and went on to earn three titles in the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association for Quinnipiac University.

She graduated in 2018 with a degree in nursing and made her international debut at the 2018 Paris Sevens tournament before coming in fourth with her team at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2018.   

Now at her first Olympics, she is taking full advantage of the unique experience — and sharing it on TikTok with millions of viewers.

Some of her most popular clips have acknowledged just how fit and good looking the athletes staying in the Olympic village are.

In one, she joked about wanting to kiss a ‘hot Olympian’ after making eye contact int the dining hall, while in another, she joked about wanting to marry ‘the tall foreign demigod lookin athletes in the Olympic Village.’

In years past, the hookup culture at the Olympics has been infamous. But due to COVID-19 concerns, things are looking a bit different this year.

She has admitted to 'making TikToks constantly at the Olympics so the world can get and inside look'

She joked that she spends six hours a day on the app

She has admitted to ‘making TikToks constantly at the Olympics so the world can get and inside look’ and joked that she spends six hours a day on the app

Her signature! Maher has also become known for her red, white, and blue tie-dye Team USA bucket hat, which was among the wardrobe gifted to athletes

Her signature! Maher has also become known for her red, white, and blue tie-dye Team USA bucket hat, which was among the wardrobe gifted to athletes

Something fun! Maher clarified that TikTok is the little bit of downtime she and the other athletes have while prepping for one of the biggest moments of their careers

Something fun! Maher clarified that TikTok is the little bit of downtime she and the other athletes have while prepping for one of the biggest moments of their careers

In one video, she dressed in head-to-toe Team USA swag, including blue leggings, a sweatshirt, a fanny pack, an American flag scarf, and Nike slides.

She is clearly a fan of the clothes provided

Lookin’ good! In one video, she dressed in head-to-toe Team USA swag, including blue leggings, a sweatshirt, a fanny pack, an American flag scarf, and Nike slides

All-American: Maher shows off the Ralph Lauren outfit she wore for the opening ceremony

All-American: Maher shows off the Ralph Lauren outfit she wore for the opening ceremony

She also revealed that she and the other TikTokers 'recognize each other and so we all follow each other and have discussions, so it's been really cool'

She also revealed that she and the other TikTokers 'recognize each other and so we all follow each other and have discussions, so it's been really cool'

Famous! She also revealed that she and the other TikTokers ‘recognize each other and so we all follow each other and have discussions, so it’s been really cool’

When one fan asked why athletes like Maher didn’t just ‘talk to each other’ if they were so ‘thirsty,’ Maher responded: ‘I hear you, but remember: there’s ‘rona. So we do try to stay away from each other.’

What’s more, she added, ‘It is not that easy to go up to a pack of six, seven Romanian volleyball players and shoot my shot. I mean, I’ll work on it? But I don’t know if that’s in the cards for me.’

Maher has also become known for her red, white, and blue tie-dye Team USA bucket hat, which was among the wardrobe gifted to athletes.

She wears it in most of her videos, including one in which she dressed in head-to-toe Team USA swag, including blue leggings, a sweatshirt, a fanny pack, an American flag scarf, and Nike slides.

In another, she admitted that she ‘easily convinces’ herself ‘to wear this bucket hat every day.’

Rugby player Ilona Maher, 24, shared several TikTok videos with her teammates in which they tested out several activities on the beds

Popular topic: Among her most popular videos are one she made to spotlight the cardboard beds the athletes sleep on 

Maher offered a close-up look at how they are constructed, and also joined up with her teammates to test them out with various stressors and activities to show that they wouldn't break

Maher offered a look at how they are constructed, and also joined up with her teammates to test them out with various stressors and activities to show that they wouldn't break

Maher offered a look at how they are constructed, and also joined up with her teammates to test them out with various stressors and activities to show that they wouldn’t break 

She did reveal that she'd heard that a team from New Zealand may have broken one of the beds

She isn't a huge fan of the beds

She did reveal that she’d heard that a team from New Zealand may have broken one of the beds

Maher also said that she is 'very excited' that they get to keep the blankets when they leave

Maher also said that she is ‘very excited’ that they get to keep the blankets when they leave

'Yes, it is all cardboard, and it's pretty sturdy as you all have seen in the videos. It holds up,' she said

When a fan asked what happens if an athlete spills water on the cardboard bed, Maher gamely responded: 'Remember, we're Olympians. Our hand-eye coordination's pretty good'

When a fan asked what happens if an athlete spills water on the cardboard bed, Maher gamely responded: ‘Remember, we’re Olympians. Our hand-eye coordination’s pretty good’

Among her most popular videos are one she made to spotlight the cardboard beds the athletes sleep on.

Maher offered a close-up look at how they are constructed, and also joined up with her teammates to test them out with various stressors and activities to show that they wouldn’t break. 

In a video with 6.2 million views, she mimics doing CPR and beating up a robber on the bed, while her teammates do yoga, dance, ‘throw a tantrum,’ skip, mimic a wresting KO, dramatically faint, do clap push-ups.

She did reveal that she’d heard that a team from New Zealand may have broken one of the beds, though. (In fact, the Israeli national baseball team managed to break one after nine men jumped on it at the same time.)

When a fan asked what happens if an athlete spills water on the cardboard bed, Maher gamely responded. 

‘Remember, we’re Olympians. Our hand-eye coordination’s pretty good. If you’re spilling that much water on your bed… I think you should just lay in the consequences at that point. That’s your bed now.’   

Yum! Maher has also filmed a look at one of the dining halls and taste-tested some of the food

Yum! Maher has also filmed a look at one of the dining halls and taste-tested some of the food

She described the food as 'amazing' and ate a few dishes on camera

She described the food as 'amazing' and ate a few dishes on camera

Girl’s gotta eat! She described the food as ‘amazing’ and ate a few dishes on camera

Totally impressed: She even said the gyoza there was the best in the world

Totally impressed: She even said the gyoza there was the best in the world

That's complicated: In one video, she showed off the complicated trash and recycling system

That’s complicated: In one video, she showed off the complicated trash and recycling system

The athlete also filmed herself working out at the gym with her teammates

The athlete also filmed herself working out at the gym with her teammates 

Maher's firs game is on Wednesday, July 28. Team USA will play China, with the game airing on NBC at 9 p.m. ET

Maher's firs game is on Wednesday, July 28. Team USA will play China, with the game airing on NBC at 9 p.m. ET

Maher’s firs game is on Wednesday, July 28. Team USA will play China, with the game airing on NBC at 9 p.m. ET

Maher has also filmed a look at one of the dining halls, taste-tested some of the food, and filmed her teammates as they train at the gym.

Though she has admitted to ‘making TikToks constantly at the Olympics so the world can get and inside look’ and joked that she spends six hours a day on the app, she also clarified that it’s the little bit of downtime she and the other athletes have while prepping for one of the biggest moments of their careers.

The Burlington, Vermont native has become especially popular for her sense of humor

The Burlington, Vermont native has become especially popular for her sense of humor

‘It’s just a ton of athletes super-focused on a goal, and when you guys do see us on TikTok, those are when we switch off, kind of like to get away from the sport, to have fun, because when we’re on the field, when we’re on the pitch, that’s when we have to turn on and get ready,’ she said.

She also revealed that she and the other TikTokers ‘recognize each other and so we all follow each other and have discussions, so it’s been really cool.’ 

That certainly gives her more to talk about with her fellow athletes. In one video, she admitted that most of her conversations in the Olympic village follow the same pattern: The athletes ask each other what their sport is and when their first event is, before wishing one another good luck.

Maher’s firs game is on Wednesday, July 28. Team USA will play China, with the game airing on NBC at 9 p.m. ET.

That is to be followed by matches against Japan and Australia on July 29, with knockouts beginning on July 30. 



Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button