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.


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.”


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.

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

ronn torossian 5wpr ceo

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *