The Sochi Winter Olympic Games wrapped up yesterday. Overall it was a surprising win for Russia and Sochi.
It was not a flawless event. Going into the Sochi Games the discussion focused on Russia’s approach to human rights, especially the LGBT community. The event kicked off with reports of unfinished hotel rooms and amusement parks. In recent days, the events in Sochi have been over-shadowed by the violence in the Ukraine.
All of this has been a problem for the Olympic sponsors, the companies that pay millions and millions to support the event.
Nonetheless, the Sochi Olympic Games went well. Over the past two weeks, the focus has been on the athletes, celebrating both achievements and disappointments. The biggest controversy seems to be whether Korea’s Kim Yu-na or Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova should have won in figure skating.
There have been no terrorist attacks, no major logistic problems and relatively few protests. The television coverage has been upbeat and positive.
This is good for all involved: the athletes, the sponsors, Sochi and Russia.
The event will help Russia. The country committed to putting on a first-class event and it did. This speaks to Russia’s resources and dedication. It helps Russia’s brand.
The event will help Sochi even more. The Winter Olympic Games are more powerful than the summer games because the host cities often have little awareness beforehand. Athens, Sydney and Beijing all had great brand awareness before hosting the Olympics. Turin, Nagano and Albertville did not. The only reason most people know Lillehammer is that the town hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1994.
The world now knows Sochi and has a positive perception of the city and the region. This investment in brand building will pay dividends for decades to come.
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