The 3 words Olympic winners should say to the press

Let’s hope athletes will heed this media relations advice and pepper their interviews with a large dose of patriotism.

With the Summer Olympics beginning soon in London, here is some basic media advice for the athletes, based on what hasn’t been done in the Winter and Summer games of the recent past.

Simply put, remember your audience and what they expect from you.

People are rooting for Americans to win medals not only for the athletes as individuals, but more importantly, our country.

Most American athletes, in 2008 and 2010, focused only on their achievements. They must remember why they are in London—to represent the United States. So when asked how they feel about winning, it is fine to talk about themselves. But let’s hope they also talk about how proud they are to win for the U.S.

They might take a lesson from Canadian athletes who consistently spoke of how honored they were to represent their country.

As I have written before here and here, when you hear professional athletes talk, they always receive the biggest cheers when they talk about how much they appreciate their fans.

This is an easy thing to do. All it takes is three additional words, “for our country.” So when an athlete says something like, “I am thrilled to win this medal,” they should add those three words. Now, the statement becomes “I am thrilled to win this medal for our country.” Then, the athlete can go on to talk about how hard he/she worked to get the medal.

The same formula works for businesses when they replace the word country with customer. “We are excited to introduce this new product” becomes “We are excited to introduce this new product for our customers,” and changes the tenor of the statement in a positive way.

Tripp Frohlichstein is founder of MediaMasters Inc. His firm specializes in media and presentation coaching, along with message development and message mapping. Contact him at or email

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Topics: PR

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