Speech of the year 2013

Yuki Ota’s 2½-minute presentation to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 7th September was a brilliant example of what Aristotle called ethos, pathos and logos.

The IOC was meeting in Buenos Aires to choose the host city for the 2020 Olympics. Ota, a fencer who won a silver medal at the 2008 and 2012 Games, was part of the Tokyo delegation.

“I’m not very good at English,” Ota said, “but I needed to make a powerful and successful presentation in English. So I practised very hard to make the sentences into my own words, and kept saying to myself, ‘Practice makes perfect’.”

Click here to watch his presentation (which begins at 30:07).


According to Aristotle, there are three modes of persuasion.

Pathos is persuasion through emotion. Ota begins his presentation with huge passion: “Imagine living in the heart of that city!”

Ethos is persuasion through character. At 30:37, when Ota says “As an athlete, I’m proud to say our views have been taken on board”, he sounds authoritative and believable.

Logos is persuasion through logical arguments. At 31:02, Ota delivers a statistic in a tremendously powerful way: “Last summer, more than five hundred thousand [fans] took to the streets of Tokyo, on a weekday, to celebrate with us London 2012 athletes.”

More on ethos, pathos and logos

In April, I wrote an article about ethos, pathos and logos for “Japan Today” (click here). And in July I gave a pecha-kucha presentation about Aristotle at the FAB4 International NeuroELT Conference (click here).


To everyone who has supported Ten Sentences during 2013: THANK YOU!! I wish you all a very, very happy and successful 2014.
Graham Jones

4 responses to “Speech of the year 2013

  1. hi

    thanks interesting video :)

    there’s a nice post about reclaiming rhetoric here – http://pragmaticreform.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/reclaiming-rhetoric/

    happy new year


  2. Non-verbal part of his communication gives a big impact. His arm and hand movement is so sharp and graceful. He plays fencing in his speech, too.

    Look forward to many more inspiring blogs in 2014!

    • You’re absolutely right about the impact of the non-verbal part of his communication – the brain tends to pay more attention to sight than to sound. Thanks ever so much for your comment, and best wishes for 2014!

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