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The Olympian Artist
Date
20 Mar 2018
Tags
Olympic Art Project
Olympic Art Project

Lanny Barnes

Lanny Barnes is three-time Olympic Biathlete and professional artist. She competed in biathlon in the 2006, 2010, 2014 Olympic Games. 

She has a twin sister, Tracy, whom she competed with in Turin, Italy in 2006. Lanny competed in the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada, where Tracy was the alternate. Lanny posted the best US finish in 16 years for the US women at those Olympic Games and both girls made history and inspired the world when Tracy selflessly gave Lanny her spot on the Sochi, Russia 2014 Olympic team after Lanny fell ill during the final trials and wasn’t able to complete all the races.

Tracy was given the United Nations UNESCO International Fair Play award and the US Olympic Committee Inspiration Award for her selfless act and for demonstrating true Olympic Spirit. Lanny started drawing and painting at an early age and despite very little instruction in art, she became a professional artist in 2000. She specializes in wildlife art in charcoal, but has done everything from still life, to portraits, to sports, to landscapes in every form of media. Art has always been a big passion for Lanny and while training for the Olympic Games she also expanded and grew her talent as an artist. She plans to continue her career as an artist and hopes to one day open her own gallery.


It was great to see all the athletes painting together from all over the world Lanny Barnes
Interview
You were invited by the IOC as an artist in residence. For the first time you were not in competition. How did it feel?

Being an artist in residence for the IOC was a much different feeling that being a competitor but it still carried the same excitement and nervous energy that I had being a competitor. Being at the Olympics is always and always will be inspiring. This was one of the best experiences in my life. As a competitor I was racing for my family and my country and here with the Olympic Art project I had a sense of working for everyone in the world and helping the athletes, regardless of where they were from to have as good experience as possible and to promote Olympic values.

According to you, did the athlete respond well to this art initiative?

It seemed that every athlete that walked into the door was amazed and excited about this project. So many of the Olympians said how great this idea was and that they wished they had discovered it early so they had a place to go throughout the games where they could express themselves without pressure and stress in a fun and relaxing environment. It was great to see all the athletes painting together from all over the world. They were laughing and really enjoying the experience.

Will this project change the way you apprehend Olympic Art in the future?

This project has definitely changed the way I think of Olympic Art. I always thought of art and sports as a universal language, but it wasn't until this week that I really experienced it first hand. With athletes from 39 different countries participating, we didn't need to speak the same language to engage and enjoy this project. It is great to see so many athletes and people from so many different backgrounds sharing Olympic values throughout this project. 

After this project do you believe there is room for art in each Games?

And in the Olympic Village? I 100% agree that there is room for this project at every games and especially in every village. There is so much art during the games already with the Opening and closing ceremonies and performances and artwork displayed during the games, but this project help bridge that gap between the sports and the art in a way the really help to promote Olympic values.

The moment you will keep in mind?

Two female Japanese teammates came in to paint and worked together to paint something on one of the canvases. When they had first come in, one had tears in her eyes because she had just finished her event and had a bad performance, by the time they were done painting they were laughing and hugging. As an athlete, moments like that are so priceless. To take a disappointing moment and create a positive new one and make the experience and journey that much more memorable and positive is what the Olympic values is all about. 

What are your biggest takeaways?

Being an artist in residence for the IOC was a much different feeling that being a competitor but it still carried the same excitement and nervous energy that I had being a competitor. Being at the Olympics is always and always will be inspiring. This was one of the best experiences in my life. As a competitor I was racing for my family and my country and here with the Olympic Art project I had a sense of working for everyone in the world and helping the athletes, regardless of where they were from to have as good experience as possible and to promote Olympic values.

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