A little PR coaching for the U.S. Olympians

More national pride might endear them to us in the run-up to the Vancouver Games.

In a few weeks, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver will begin. Sadly, when it comes to pre-Olympics promotion/communications, many U.S. athletes have been out of the medal race.

Athletes ought to remember that during their Olympic competition they represent the United States, and they should acknowledge that in their media appearances. With some exceptions, when people watch the Games, they are rooting for their country as a whole—not any individual athlete—to win the gold.

When sportscasters and commentators talk, it is usually about how each U.S. Olympian represents our nation. Most of the U.S. athletes I’ve seen aren’t conveying that; instead, they focus on themselves.

Certainly, any Olympian’s road to the Games depends in large part on individual ability, sacrifice and effort. But they are there as U.S. team members, not solitary performers.

On “The Today Show” on Jan. 8, likely Olympic figure skater Rachael Flatt, talked only about what she wants to do as a skater, with no mention of her representing her country.

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