Ryan Lochte provided one of the most spectacular story in the history of Olympics during the 2016 Olympics games. The news broke when the Fox Sports reporter quoted the mother of the 12 –time Olympic medalist saying that her son was “held up at gunpoint.” What followed was a social media hype of the story that quickly spread and Lochte was now submerged in the Reputation Defender review crisis. Lochte’s team was forced to find an emergency management specialist Mathew Hiltzik after his accounts of what happened were later questioned.
At a later interview, Lochte was compelled to admit that he left details out and over-exaggerated the account of what occurred during the evening in question. However, Lochte refused to admit lying about the story. The response by Lochte was understandably correct given that his reputation was at stake. Some media coverage in the United States reported using the phrase “lying,” “lied,” and “lie,” although Lochte used the words “exaggerate,” ‘over-exaggerate,” and “over-exaggerated.” However, it could have been worse is Lochte admitted to lying about the case instead of the admission of exaggeration of events that took place. Users across Facebook and Twitter used the words exaggeration more than lying probably quoting what Lochte said.
Lochte’s strategy seems to have worked well. When the story of his exaggerations was aired on Saturday night, he only lost his first two sponsorship’s. Some people may have pointed a finger to his crisis management advisor. However, by the virtue that the story received a big coverage of the media, Lochte had no chance to retain any of his sponsorship. The story of crafted message was affecting the brands of his sponsorship.
Once again, it was a typical case how reputation management is important in our daily lives especially in the flow of information through social media. The social dialogue about Lochte’s story clarified that social dialogue is not held to any journalistic standard and people are free to edit the content. However, since people ought to have quoted Lochte’s words, it served to minimize the damage that he would have otherwise suffered. If Lochte clarified the story or the crisis early enough, he could have used the media to his advantage.