Going for PR gold
Tomorrow, the opening ceremony, spearheaded by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, commences and will hopefully be a turning point for the Olympics’ public relations.
For the past few weeks, PR pitfalls and bungled logistics have plagued the Olympics and host city London, as well as participant countries. Ranging from the serious to the somewhat comical, here is just a small handful:
- Security concerns were unveiled earlier this month, resulting in the addition of 18,200 British troops to fill gaps by the private security firm tasked with event security
- The “will they or won’t they” bluster renewed by Iran with its reticence to compete against Israel in the Olympics amid ongoing tensions between the two countries
- A national outcry in the United States over the revelation that U.S. Olympic team uniforms – designed by that all-American stalwart Ralph Lauren – were actually manufactured in China
- Charter buses carrying frustrated athletes and other VIPs lost for hours along the motorway to the Olympic Village
For its part, hosting a weeks-long multinational event featuring 205 countries and 14,000+ athletes, I think London has fielded these PR problems admirably, and with characteristic sensibility and humor.
When the cameras shift focus to the main events, I am confident the Olympics will regain much of its momentum. When the Olympics conclude in just under three weeks, I hope to see some of the PR “wins” that have made past Olympics so compelling to watch – surging national pride, competitive yet goodhearted global unity, and inspirational athleticism.