By: Cole Buergi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
Few events get as much media attention as the Olympics and for good reason. The best athletes in the world come together every four years to compete for gold, while the world watches in amazement. The Olympics is also a time for the host country to showcase its rich culture and amenities in hopes of attracting tourist dollars long after the games are completed.
Unfortunately for Brazil, host country to the XXXI Olympiad, many PR issues arose months prior to the lighting of the Olympic torch. They included concerns about athletes and spectators contracting the Zika virus and then returning to their home countries as carriers, potentially spreading the virus globally. Additional concerns revolved around whether the Olympic buildings would be ready in time and, of course, there’s the ever present water quality issue. Anyone watching the diving event Tuesday couldn’t help but see the pool was green, a color more commonly associated with a pond you would catch frogs in than one you would expect to see Olympians competing in.
It’s definitely been trying times for the PR team assigned with positioning all aspects of Rio, Brazil’s host city, in a positive light, all the while tackling some very serious issues that even caused some athletes to take a pass on competing in the games.
Although Olympic news leading up the games often highlighted the negatives, now that games are in full swing, there has definitely been a shift in focus by the media. Gone are many of the negative stories, replaced instead with truly interesting stories of the men and women competing. That’s what really draws me to watch the games. Not only do you get to see the top athletes compete, but you get to learn more about their life stories and the roads they traveled to get to where they are today.
As the games near the end of the first week of competition, what’s your thoughts on the coverage? Has the Olympics PR team performed well in handling the negatives and spotlighting all the positives?
I definitely feel they have and have enjoyed watching the competition. What do you think? Has the Olympic PR team earned a gold medal for their efforts? What would you do differently?