Serena’s Olympic Victory Celebration: Learning from The Dance that Became a Distraction

 

Serena busts a move (http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/tennis/highlights-serena-williams-dancing-after-winning-gold.html)


Likely it was simply a moment of unbridled joy — as she told Access Hollywood, “A good moment for her”–  but Serena Williams’ golden accomplishment became tarnished when she spontaneously broke into a  “C-Walk” victory dance — moves tied to gang life in her home state of California.

Of course, the various pundits and people around the blogoshere rushed to weigh in:

It was embarrassing.”

It was just a dance (and the criticism smacked of racism).”

It was inappropriate.”

It was cool.”

No matter what the meaning or intention, the result of the action was the same: It inadvertently shifted the focus from her incredible achievement to a less than stellar image.

We get it. It’s hard to be in control of your emotions/actions/communications all the time — particularly in those watershed moments. (Remember Jack Palance’s weird push-ups or Adrien Brody’s awkward mauling of Halle Berry at the Oscars?)  That’s why when we work with new clients or executives, we always begin with some media training tips — honing key messages, asking tough questions and preparing for potentially sticky scenarios — to help avoid any media missteps. While there’s no magic bullet, being clear about goals and what actions/statements are appropriate in a variety of situations will help keep the focus where you want it — on your successes.

Do you think Serena’s moves tainted her Olympic moment?  Tell us here, on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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