- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2014

From the Super Bowl to the Olympics, Coca-Cola is coming close to cornering the outrage market this month.

On Thursday, a nutritional advocacy group slammed the soft drink company for an ad that aired during NBC’s Olympics broadcast featuring Ted Ligety, who became the first American to take gold in the men’s giant slalom Wednesday.

“Ted Ligety drinks a Coke before every race,” read words floating in bubbles in the 15-second spot “Superstition? Or Super Power?

Jim O’Hara, health promotion policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, was incensed.

“Who knows how many young girls and boys might have seen Coca-Cola’s reckless and irresponsible ad on the Olympics broadcast last night suggesting that Ted Ligety’s success is due to his consumption of Coca-Cola,” Mr. O’Hara said in a statement Thursday.

Mr. Ligety is part of the Coca-Cola “Four-Pack” of athletes tapped by the company to serve as unofficial ambassadors to the games.

Members of the group — which also include figure skating legend Michelle Kwan, 2010 figure skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek and Amy Purdy, three-time world champion in para-snowboarding — also will serve as “Ambassadors of Active Living” “to encourage and inspire fans to lead healthy, balanced lifestyles,” according to the company.

Coca-Cola also prompted a significant backlash after airing an ad during the Super Bowl earlier this month featuring people singing “America the Beautiful” in seven different languages.