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Courtesy of the artists
Date
19 Mar 2018
Tags
Olympic Art Project
Olympic Art Project

Alexi Pappas

Alexi Pappas is a Greek-American athlete and an award-winning writer and filmmaker.

Alexi Pappas competed in the Olympic Games in Rio, setting a national record for Greece in the 10km with a time of 31:36 and is now training for the Games in Tokyo 2020. An elite distance runner, writer and filmmaker, she has been profiled in many magazines. Alexi recently co-wrote, co-directed, and starred in the feature film Tracktown, which was produced with the support from the Sundance Institute and premiered at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Follow Alexi Pappas on Instagram!

Courtesy of the artists
INTERVIEW
You were invited by the IOC as an artist in residence. For the first time you were not in competition and in Winter Games. How did it feel?

It was a life changing experience to be at an Olympic Games as an artist after having competed as an athlete. When I competed in my first Olympics in Rio, I was very focused on my competition and loved my time in Rio so much, but in Korea I truly immersed myself in the community of athletes there. I felt lucky to be back in the places where I feel most at home: in the Village and in the dining hall.

What do you think about this experience? What is your overall opinion/feeling?

The Olympic Artist in Residence program opens the doors to expressing the Olympic experience in a new way. I feel grateful that the Olympic Committee believes in me as an athlete and artist --- I am even more inspired to continue my art and also train for the 2020 Olympics!!!!

How did the athlete react when they met you on the field? Did they participate?

Once they got past the initial confusion of why a summer Olympian was in PyeongChang, they all very enthusiastic and excited about the project. Almost everyone who we asked participated in the film... unless they had a competition that same day!

How did the athlete react when they met you on the field? Did they participate?

Once they got past the initial confusion of why a summer Olympian was in PyeongChang, they all very enthusiastic and excited about the project. Almost everyone who we asked participated in the film... unless they had a competition that same day! 

Do you think your film will engage with the athletes?

Our goal is to make a film that athletes will want to show their children to say: "this is what it felt like to actually be there." It's different from watching television coverage of their competitions or the official Olympic Film. It's a movie that captures the emotions and experience of the complete Olympic Athlete experience, including life backstage and between competitions. 

What was your most challenging moment?

One of the first days we were there we were filming a scene outside in the Olympic Plaza and it was so cold and windy that within minutes, none of us could feel our hands or feet. The camera even froze! Soon we'd learn our way around and the entire city of PyeongChang would come to feel like a second home.

And your most memorable moment? The moment you will keep in mind.

Filming before and during opening ceremonies. The emotion of that moment hits me every time.

Will your experience change the way you live the Olympic Values as an athlete and as an artist?

I now have a much deeper appreciation for the Olympics than ever before. I wouldn't have thought that was possible after my experience competing in Rio, but now that I've had a chance to peek "behind the curtain" and learn more about the countless moving pieces that come together to create the Games every two years, I am even more acutely aware of the immense passion, creativity, and dedication that goes into the Olympics. 

Is there a scene you are really proud of?

I'm especially proud of all the scenes where real Winter Olympians act alongside Nick Kroll (my co-star) and myself. The athletes, many of whom had never acted before, did a fantastic job and were such a pleasure to work with.

What are your biggest takeaways?

I feel strongly that the Olympics is a specific, unique, experience, but is universally relatable. Also, I feel that all athletes are kindred with one another.

And if you had to do it all again?

I wouldn't change a thing. So many amazing moments happened serendipitously that I never could have planned or imagined in advance -- if I were to go back and do it again, some of those chance events might not happen again! That's what makes this project (and the Olympics) so special! They exist in their own unique way, and they also live on forever.

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