The Sochi Olympics final competitions and closing ceremonies are just days away - so what better time to reflect on the 2014 Winter Games than now?
I have recently moved to Canada from Australia so I am the first to admit I am no expert on winter sports (however, I DO know as much that both the Canadian Men’s and Women’s curling teams and the Women’s Hockey team have all won gold. Not to mention the Men’s Hockey team have just won their semi-final game against the US – meaning they are going for gold this weekend)!
The Winter Olympics gets extensive media coverage around the globe, even in Downunder. However, the Games don’t have the same following in Australia as it does here in Canada. Some of the buzz around the city may be due to Sochi Olympics coming off the back of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics but my guess is regardless of this Vancouverite’s would be just as passionate about the Games.
Coverage of the Games has flooded our news and social media channels for more than two weeks now. What has been reported during the Winter Olympics will have an affect long after the Games end this weekend.
The media attention Russia has attracted for issues such as its anti-gay laws, unfinished living accommodations and wild dogs running free (even spawning celebrates poking fun at the controversy such as Jimmy Kimmel’s “wolf” wandering video prank) has been very damaging to the countries reputation.
Other countries including Canada spoke out about Russia’s issues and won the hearts of the world for standing up for the LGBT community. Not only that, but Canada continues to receive media coverage for a whole range of other selfless acts. Moments such as when Canadian cross-country coach, Justin Wadsworth ran onto the slope to help Russian skier Anton Gafarov replace a broken ski are highlighted in an article recently published on Buzzfeed entitled 10 Ways Canada Has Already Won The Winter Olympics. Wadsworth’s act of kindness not only meant Gafarov could cross the finish line with dignity but it left a lasting impression on everyone.
As public relations professionals we know that these stories are far more valuable than any amount of paid media. In my opinion, Team Canada have done just as good, if not a better job off the field as they have on.
For those of you who are not ready for the Games to be over, remember the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games are coming up on 7 - 16 March, 2014. Here is a promotion video produced by the Canadian Paralympic Committee to get you excited.
Who’s planning to get up at 4:00am PST to catch the Canadian Men’s hockey team battle it out against Sweden for the gold medal?
Go Team Canada!