Olympic PR Troubles: How Rio and NBC Could Benefit from a More Focused PR Campaign

Olympic PR Troubles How Rio and NBC Could Benefit from a More Focused PR Campaign

Now the 2016 Summer Olympics are officially over, let’s take a look at some of the memorable moments, both the blunders and the glories.

Swimming

Michael Phelps finished his fourth Olympics with a glorious comeback, earning a lifetime record for number of Olympic gold medals at 23 and a total of 28 medals overall. Those numbers are astonishing. He’s come a long way since his first Olympics in 2004. He’s 31 years old, so most likely he won’t be back to compete in 2020. He may be an analyst or sportscaster at future games, following a fine tradition of great athletes.

Katie Ledecky, another star in her second Olympics. Ledecky won a gold medal in the London games and in Rio she picked up four golds and one silver. Her first gold of these games was also one where she broke her own world record and was the first gold in an individual placement for the U.S. of the games. Unlike Phelps, she isn’t built to be a swimming champ. She’s much more proportionate.

Then there was the Ryan Lochte. No need to repeat the PR nightmare of his making here. But despite that, he won a gold medal at the games. But even now he also waits to find out if he’ll have to return to Brazil and face further legal consequences for his “over exaggerations.”

Track

Usain Bolt won three gold medals and, after one win, he turned his victory into something even better. The fastest man in the world currently showed his true character of greatness when in the middle of a televised interview he stopped talking and paid respectful homage to the U.S. as he turned toward the presentation podium and worked to hold his emotions in check during a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Class act.

Beach Volleyball

Kerri Walsh-Jennings seemed to gain more attention for being a mom of three than for her skills on the court. From all we can tell, she’s wonderful at both, but what does her mom status have to do with the competition?

Of course after two weeks of coverage day and night, there was a lot that happened at this and every other Olympics. But the Rio games started with a fair amount of controversy. That included the various problems and scandals in Rio leading up to the games. By that point, it might have been obvious that these games would leave a lot to be discussed on social media and that those in charge, as well as NBC and its affiliates, might have planned for better handling and research. If they had done that better, the Lochte situation might not have been so bad, the Bolt event would have been even better, and they would have stopped commenting so much on how many babies various female athletes had birthed.

And finally, they might never have suggested that Michael Phelps, arguably the greatest Olympic athlete step aside in the opening ceremonies and let a first-time Olympian lead the group simply because of her ethnic and religious background. That started the Olympics with a controversy that should not have happened.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR.

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