More from the Frederik Van Lierde Press Conference

First of all, allow me to offer some context. My understanding is that this event was organized by Freddie’s management in order to give the media and his sponsors an opportunity to talk with him during a very hectic week. He seems like a very regimented guy, and this was a way to perhaps reduce the total time spent fulfilling the many obligations of a returning champion. I took the event very seriously and prepared a list of 7 or 8 questions. My plan was to ask one or two questions during the press conference. One serious and one funny. Then, I would save the rest for a private interview immediately following the press conference.

Freddie’s and his team started things off with statements regarding his training, state of mind and thoughts on the race. Then they turned it over to the media for questions. I was shocked and actually mortified when 30 seconds or so of deafening silence occurred. Why wasn’t anyone asking questions? Finally, I started things off with a serious, well thought out question about him being overlooked by the triathlon media.

After I was finished, a few people started asking questions, but most were awful and didn’t seem pre-written or rehearsed. I remember questions like, “how do you feel?” I DON’T recall egg-headed Jay Prashuhn of the Lava Pretty Picture Advertorial asking a single question. He certainly didn’t publish any video footage of the event. As far as I’ve seen, only Huub has released any video at all. So much for respecting the event. The event was so painful and there was so much dead silence in-between questions, that I ended up asking all of mine, leaving NOTHING for a one on one. Oh well.

After the event, 4-5 people approached me, introduced themselves and thanked me for livening up the event and asking some good questions. “Thank God you were here, that was like being at a funeral where no one would say anything.” One of the questions I asked was about the pass of Luke McKenzie last year – what were his emotions at the time, and did he know he had the event won. His answer was genuine, honest and really compelling. Unfortunately, we did not get it on tape. In short, he felt very emotional and he knew he had it in the bag. Another question I asked was regarding his use of a mental coach, what that entails and how it benefits him. Again, he gave a great answer that we unfortunately didn’t get on tape.

Not surprisingly, at least one member of the establishment triathlon media felt annoyed by my presence. The rumor started that I was rude and disrespectful, a complete load of bullshit. Since I have heard over a dozen stories about Jay Prashuhn bashing me to everyone from athletes to brands, I can only assume that egg-head was the source. He tells everyone and anyone he talks to that they shouldn’t associate with me. Whatever. Watch the tape and see for yourself if people enjoyed my presence.

Jay may not have had any impact on the actual meat of the press conference, but he did get a pretty photograph, so I congratulate him for that. He’s a wonderful photographer.

FVL Press Conf, Kona 2014 – Extended from Raceday Communications on Vimeo.

About the Author

Ben Hobbs
Ben Hobbs is Publisher of TRS Triathlon and host of TRS Radio.