Of Athletes And Media

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Athletes are special among the human folk – and not just because they are physically stronger. They are far more ambitious, result-oriented people than the rest of us, commoners.

Whether she or he admits it, the dream picture goes as follows: crossing the line victorious first, competitors (blurry, despondent) behind, all the while giving a perfect 32-teeth Hollywood smile.

Well, there is a problem with that last bit, about looking perfect. Because rightly or wrongly the media is not interested all that much in how good the athlete looks – it’s interested in conveying emotions. And emotions are not necessarily all that pretty whether on still or on moving pictures a.k.a video.

Stronger the emotions- the better are the pic, beauty be damned.

Unfair and outright wrong? Well, what you gonna do about that?

Richer sports like football or tennis have long incorporated media training into their teenage stars curriculum – not every one follows it, of course, but at least she/he has been warned and to extent taught how to manipulate the media.

Cross country skiing has long been spared the visual exposure bestowed on bigger sports, but things are changing – rapidly. With long lense cameras cheap and Instagram free, every Tom, Dick & Harry is a local answer to the Sports Illustrated. Which means that the pro-media will be even more pushed, angled towards delivering higher drama to its audience.

Not every skier will ever be happy with how she/ he comes out on pictures. Just take a deep breath – and keep on winning.

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