Summary: Ah, sports! I am sure that I share with most Wikipedians a fairly good opinion of the roundness of my own knowledge, at least in certain areas. It is a bold mind indeed that embarks on a longterm Wikipedia career without first winning a few rounds of Trivial Pursuit. However, the one topic about which I can safely declare myself utterly clueless is competitive physical activity, as evidenced by the fact that most of my free time is spent in front of a computer screen. So when two great sporting events, the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics, collide in one week, transforming the top 25 into a festival of flying feet, a carnival of colliding craniums and a bacchanal of bouncing balls, I find myself at the foothill of a rather large amount of research. So if the commentary seems a bit less colourful than usual, that's why.
For the complete top 25 report, plus exclusions, see WP:TOP25
For the week of 2 to 8 February, the 10 most popular articles on Wikipedia, as determined from the report of the 5,000 most viewed pages* were:
The sudden, unexpected death of this intensely talented, Oscar-winning actor at the age of only 46 sent ripples throughout the pop-culturesphere. Although the coroner has yet to confirm the cause of death, evidence found at the scene suggests that he relapsed into heroin use after a long abstinence.
Despite having only been on the scene for three years, this singer has already sold over 100 million records, and he shot into public consciousness this week not only by winning Best Pop Vocal Album at the Grammys, but by presiding over a widely praised Super Bowl halftime show.
The new CEO of Microsoft has a lot to deal with. Not only must he assume the mantle of a charismatic and universally known predecessor, but one whose shadow will likely fall on all who follow him, he must re-orient a company designed for the PC market in a world now dominated by tablets and mobile devices. It's somewhat surprising to see him so high on this list, but again, the India effect doubtless played a role.
The defeat, or rout, if you prefer, by the Seattle Seahawks of the Denver Broncos that comprised this year's Super Bowl was distilled in the media to a battle between the two opposing quarterbacks—one a veteran approaching the end of his career, and this one, a newcomer led his team to their first Super Bowl win ever in just his second year in the league.
The sub-tropical resort that Vladimir Putin for some reason chose as the ideal location to host the Winter Olympics has become something of a talking point, given that it is one of the few places in the entire country that doesn't get snow in the winter, leading to the slightly ridiculous scenario of a country that regularly sees double-digit below zero temperatures having to spray artificial snow.
A popular five-time MVP who played for the Indianapolis Colts for 14 seasons before leading the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl, Manning was framed in the media as the protagonist in a mano a mano battle with opposing quarterback Russell Wilson (see above).
The film director responded to an open letter from his onetime adopted daughter this week, dismissing accusations that he had sexually abused her, and reigniting smouldering debates about his behaviour.