Public diplomacy and the Olympics: Ryan Lochte et al.
Because the US is arguably the richest nation in the world, the country tends to be very successful at the Olympic Games, and athletes representing the US win a plurality of the medals.
Just as I joke sometimes that US soldiers serving in countries like Iraq or Afghanistan ought to have PhDs in Anthropology and Sociology, the athletes at the Games represent the US as a form of public diplomacy.
-- Public Diplomacy and the Olympic Games, USC Center on Public Diplomacy
-- Strategies for Improving Brazilian Public Diplomacy with the 2016 Summer Olympics, GWU Masters Thesis (this paper is not on what visiting countries can do, but the opportunities for host countries)
Ryan Lochte apologizes for description of gas station incident," USA Today.
They typify why too often we are called "Ugly Americans" when we travel abroad.
Considering that Tommie Smith and John Carlos and were stripped of their medals at the 1968 Olympics because of their making the Black Power salute when they were on the awards podium--not that I think that was the right decision on the part of the IOC (and the US Olympic Committee, to their credit, did not agree)--at the very least, Ryan Lochte ought to lose any payments he is to receive from the US Olympic Committee for being a medal winner at these games.
Also see the past blog entry, "Re-branding America."