Salman Khan as goodwill ambassador for Rio Olympics - the right choice?

Salman Khan as goodwill ambassador for Rio Olympics

Salman Khan as goodwill ambassador for Rio Olympics – the right choice?


The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) announced Salman Khan to be the goodwill ambassador for the Indian contingent at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics which is scheduled to start in August. He is also to be the first Bollywood celebrity to be chosen for this position, though there were rumors doing rounds about Amitabh Bachchan or Shah Rukh Khan to be bestowed with this honor.

People are divided over their opinion on this decision taken by IOA based on Salman’s fan following in and outside India. The film fraternity comes to support while sportsperson are of the view that this is an unjust decision. Those competing at the Rio Olympic seem happy about Salman being their goodwill ambassador.

Salman Khan has a fan following greater than some of the best paid sportsperson in our country which explains why IOA did what it did. Inspirational as his fans would find it, Salman also has a reputation for being in the not-so-pleasant kind of controversies. Has IOA made a mistake by making Salman the goodwill ambassador the Rio Olympics?


1. Since other celebrities were busy making news: Amitabh Bachchan who would have been the first choice of IOA recently found himself amid controversy of Panama paper leak, followed by his removal as the brand ambassador of Incredible India. Aamir Khan lost his chances when he got himself involved in the intolerance debate. When someone suggested that Salman is the man with the least tainted image these days, IOA couldn’t agree more.

2. Youth icon: We do need to encourage youth to participate and take ahead their subsided interest in games and sports. Salman Khan is one celebrity youth is obsessed about, whether it is his fit built body or his stunt filled movies, youth love it all about him. The way his movies break box office records even when the story line is nothing you have never heard of, is a clear example that the youth follow him wholeheartedly. Sports will get the much needed boost in India with Salman Khan as its goodwill ambassador.

3. For better publicity: Olympics and its sports need more publicity and exposure in India. Sportsperson who have bagged medals for our country at Olympics still strive for a better life and live under oblivion when they should be getting all the privileges that a celebrity enjoys. They strive to make a living when they should be inspiring others to follow the sport wholeheartedly. Mary Kom, Milkha Singh and many other sportsperson who have made India proud have been brought back from oblivion after the biopics made on them. Accept it or not, some sort of good publicity is needed in every field to make sure that it reaches and touches minds of common people as well.

4. Awareness: Let’s accept it – Olympic sports do need more awareness in India. And who could be a better inspiration for this purpose if not the most loved and followed superstar of Bollywood? There is not short of sportsperson in our country indeed and we must be appreciative towards them for bringing honor and medals back home. But are we really aware of them? No, we aren’t. The first thing a parent would worry about if their child wants to pursue an Olympic sports is the future of their passion and rightly so because we do lack awareness in this field. Instead of being divided over why it is Salman Khan for this position and not a sportsperson, we should be supporting the Olympics and striving towards more and more viewership.

5. They know what sells: Why isn’t a doctor roped in for spreading polio campaign instead of Mr. Bachchan? Do we lack good doctors? No, but we know what would sell and strike a chord among the masses. Abhinav Bindra, the only Indian to bag a good medal in the history of Olympics – would he sell better than Salman Khan or MS Dhoni? We know the answer and yet pretend to indulge in debates still everyone else is talking about it.


1. Making sportsperson popular: Do we need Bollywood actors, musicians and cricketers to make Olympics sportsperson popular? We are simply following the rule of advertisement where they capture only that which would sell. It should have been the legendary Milkha Singh or PT Usha to be bestowed with this honor instead of roping in Salman Khan who, if his intentions are purely of goodwill towards Olympic sports in India, could have stood for advertising for the campaign. Since IOA has been stressing on the fact that it is only about promoting sports and nothing monetary, we are sure Salman Khan would have been happy to be the face of advertisements for the Rio Olympics while someone more deserving of the position was made goodwill ambassador.

2. Talking of untainted image: So, we understand why Amitabh Bachchan was not roped in for this prestigious role and the same goes without saying to Aamir Khan and we also understand that Salman Khan has the fittest body amongst the lot but what about his famous hit and run case? Is that not enough of a taint? The Bombay High Court may have acquitted him of the charges but there still lies the challenge of Maharashtra Government in the Supreme Court as well as the appeal of the victim’s kin. How would it sound the next time he is tried in SC and the news adds the tag of goodwill ambassador for Rio Olympics? Not pleasant indeed!

3. Promoting his film: Salman’s upcoming Film, Sultan will show him as a wrestler which is why IOA thought it would be ideal to rope him for him for promotions for both sides. As aptly said by Milkha Singh, “Has a sportsperson ever been called to promote a film? Why should a film star be called to promote sports?”

People love Salman. Period. They would go pouring interest anywhere he leads them to which indeed makes him a good choice for the goodwill ambassador for the oncoming Rio Olympics. He is charitable, keeps good knowledge and interest in sports and keeps himself fit. There is no denying that he is an apt candidate for the role of goodwill ambassador for something that needs more promotion and encouragement in our country.

Since IOA has already clarified that it would be more than willing to rope in multiple goodwill ambassadors from other fields like music, arts, cricket and sports, there is no reason for people to be agitated by this move. It has also been clarified that it is entirely motivational work by Salman Khan with no monetary gain associated. It is good work indeed.
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