So You Think You Can Write Your Own Athlete Bio?

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athlete bio

athlete bioIt’s all fun and games at Subaru Freeride Series, but it’s also serious competition. We pulled some of the crappiest pre-comp bios ever written by SFS athletes and decided you all need a tutorial on filling in the blanks and a little media training.

Why are bios important? The info is used by MSI commentators at the competition to broadcast who/what you are for the webcast viewers, fans and spectators. No info equals lame for you and lame for viewers. Or, we just make it up, which is probably illegal.

We used our dear friend, Nick Greener’s bio as an example, and sat down with the new MSI Digital Marketing Senior Manager, Vanessa Pierce (10-year journalism veteran and contributor to OutsidePowder and Skiing magazines and International Ski Federation among others. Also, the former Team Manager for RAMP Sports and co-founder of SheJumps).

Vanessa, you’ve interviewed many athletes over your career and did post-race interviews for the men’s alpine World Cup that were broadcasted live on fisalpine.com. What is your pet peeve when interviewing athletes?

VP: ONE-WORD ANSWERS! (Yes, she is screaming this.) One-word answers are for kindergarteners; you are all adults. Putting a little thought into an answer on paper or on TV, really goes a long way to showcasing who you are and what you stand for…that’s what journalists, or in the case MSI, want to highlight—YOU (yelling again)!

Looking at the bios from the past, what is your first impression? 

VP: Stick figures don’t count as words (sorry Nick). We all know Nick is an amazing athlete, but as much as we wish we were super human encyclopedias of knowledge, we can’t remember jack (yes, even Frankie). Drawing a stick figure in place of career results does not count as a list of career results. If you want to add humor on top of solid information, please be our guests. But first we ask for the solid information.

What is your top recommendation to athletes filling in their bios or being interviewed?

VP: Sound bites. Give us something short and sweet, snappy, unique—a full sentence or two (even better) that fully answers the question and makes you stand apart form other competitors.

For example?

VP: When a journalist asks, “why did you choose that line? Take us through it.” Don’t just say, “dude, it was sick.” A proper answer could be: “I felt the line I took was very aggressive, it started out fast with big turns leading into a rock feature, I goated a little but found my groove and took the air, finished fast then did a backflip on the bottom jump. That was a sick line. And that venue offers a little bit of everything from fast and furious to big air.” Now that’s a sound bite we can use for on the air or post-comp write-ups and press releases. That guy or girl is my new best friend.

What does this all boil down to?

VP: Do you want to be that go-to athlete that journalists want to interview, that MSI comes to for content? You should. You will get promoted. And then…you will be that athlete brands want as a representative, the girl or guy who “gets it.” Give us solid information, and we’ll quote you. We’ll interview you. We’ll put you up all over our website and in press releases. We’ll even put you in front of journalists. Brands will see that and want you to represent them. You will get sponsored. Have fun and be a professional. But know: The ones who “get it” go far in this business.

This year, MSI will send a digital athlete bio for all athletes to fill in, take some time and add good information. We want funny, too, but just make sure we have accurate information and it’s thorough. Many thanks in advance.