"This Olympian — and poet — on her love for 'freedom within boundaries'" PBS NewsHour 8/11/2016
SUMMARY: On Friday, long-distance runner Alexi Pappas will compete in Rio in her first-ever Olympic race. But unlike many of her Olympic peers, Pappas does not put all her talent in one basket. In addition to training as a world-class runner, she is also a filmmaker, actress and poet, and she writes about what she knows, track. “As a storyteller, I want to tell stories that I can uniquely tell,” she says.
GWEN IFILL (NewsHour): Now, a poet and filmmaker who also happens to be an Olympic runner in Rio. She'll be competing tomorrow.
And, as you'll see, there are a number of connections for her between the way she writes and the way she runs.
ALEXI PAPPAS, Olympic Long-distance Runner, Greece: My name is Alexi Pappas. And I'm a professional long-distance Runner with Nike. And I'm also a filmmaker, actress and poet.
This summer, I will race in my first Olympic Games in the 10,000 meters on the track. I will be running for Team Greece. I'm a duel citizen and decided to compete for Team Greece because I can compete at the highest level, but I can also reach a young generation of girls who don't necessarily have the long-distance role models that we are lucky enough to have in the United States. So, I'm very excited.
I think I was a more serious poet before I was a serious runner. What I find with writing that is so special, and in poetry in particular, is, there's such an economy of words. And I like having absolute freedom within boundaries.
And in running, similarly, there are these limitations. So, in a race, you might have a certain lane that you have to stay in or a certain number of laps or a course. But within those boundaries, there's so much room for freedom and creativity and personality.
“It happened like I imagine it would feel to throw open big double doors, the kind from a mansion or dollhouse. I looked maybe like a very strong princess charging through the gate towards the castle I built myself.”
“Tracktown” is a film that we have just made and premiered and is inspired by my observations and experiences as an elite runner in Eugene, Oregon. And when I moved to Eugene to run a fifth year with the Oregon Ducks, after I graduated Dartmouth, I found that the town and the community embraced running in a way that I had never seen before.
WOMAN: “A goal is a dream with a deadline” — Napoleon Hill.
ALEXI PAPPAS: As a storyteller, I want to tell stories that I uniquely can tell and stories in highly specific worlds that most people don't get the chance to see.