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Was the bad PR necessary concerning intoxicated local swimmers?

The internet has been abuzz with the recent news articles where swimmers Joseph Schooling (pictured), Roanne Ho and Teo Zhen Ren have been shoved under the lime light for returning to the Games Village during the Incheon Asian Games intoxicated.

Reports on the incident have been split with some news outlets saying that at least two of the three swimmers seemed highly intoxicated while others claiming that the bunch were able to make their way without public disruption.

Jessie Phua, Singapore’s chef-de-mission to the Incheon Asia Games also gave statements to media outlets confirming the incident. Phua also told The Straits Times and Channel News Asia that the Singapore National Olympic Council will look into the matter after the games end this coming weekend.

While it is highly known that athletes are told to conduct themselves in an official manner during regional and global events, it begs the question if this entire incident was just blown out of proportion?

A quick check on social media by Marketing showed that netizens have been sympathetic to the entire incident stating that the swimmers were just blowing off some steam. Under the comments section in The Straits Times article, most netizens were appalled that the incident drew in so much criticism given that the swimmers were above drinking age.

Several netizens have criticised media outlets in general for reporting on the incident asking if this really was news worthy and faulted the news outlets for making a national hero go to “zero”.

Earlier this year, Sochi Olympics had been heralded as the part of the vision for a new Russia but the bad press flooding the opening might have made the country look more bad than good. With the bad press involving the trio, is Singapore taking a similar route in making itself look like a nation of “prudes” (as some netizens call it) with harsh punishments and rules?

One Mark Saito added: “Seriously, can we not create a national stereotype of ourselves that we cannot just ‘take it easy’ or be flexible given context. He won GOLD (that’s epic. After 32 years of no swimming Gold) , he finished his race and he got hammered. Discipline is not to be enforced without considering that the mentality of the youth has changed versus old school authoritarian sports training regimes.”

Was all the negative PR necessary for the games? Share with us your thoughts below.

(Photo courtesy: 2014 Incheon Asian Games Facebook)

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