Water Pollution Denials Trash Credibility of Rio Olympic Organizers

Erik Bernstein crisis management, Olympics Leave a Comment

Complete lack of crisis management doesn’t bode well for anyone involved

We’ve been critical of the organizers of the Rio Olympic Games, discussing their communications and actions (or lack thereof) in a series of posts and editorials. While we’d like to say things are turning around, new tests showing Rio’s waters are as polluted far offshore as they are closer to land has them under the microscope once again.

Instead of taking a proactive approach and inviting experts from around the world to help solve the issue, Rio’s organizers are stuck in denial. Earlier this month they further dumpstered their own credibility by telling the AP that, “the health and safety of athletes is always a top priority and there is no doubt that water within the field of play meets the relevant standards”. That’s all well and good when it’s even remotely true, but with scientific fact saying otherwise, it’s simply inexcusable.

At the top of our last post on the issue we stated that, “making broad statements with no backup isn’t the way to restore lost reputation”. Well, here we are again. Of course, the International Olympic Committee isn’t exactly known for caring about whether host cities live up to promises (Beijing being handed the 2022 Winter Games after making a complete joke of its commitment to cleaning up air quality and cutting human rights violations for the 2008 Summer Games, for example) so perhaps this problem is larger than Rio itself.

We would urge all Olympic officials to take a hard look at what happened with FIFA, because from where we’re sitting everyone connected to the Games is at risk of following the same path to reputation ruin.

The BCM Blogging Team

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