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Balancing Life, Olympic Hopes on the Big Screen


Tracktown star Alexi Pappas (center) speaks with director Jeremy Teicher during filming on location at historic Hayward Field in Eugene

Tracktown star Alexi Pappas (center) speaks with director Jeremy Teicher during filming on location at historic Hayward Field in Eugene


Look out for Alexi Pappas at the Olympics in August.

She is a Greek-American long-distance runner.

Pappas will run in the 10,000 meter event for Greece.

She grew up in the United States but her grandmother was born in Greece. That is why she can run for Greece at the Olympics.

Pappas is not just a runner.

She is also a writer, actor and filmmaker.

Alexi Pappas competing in real life in the 10,000-meters at the Peyton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, CA this spring.

Alexi Pappas competing in real life in the 10,000-meters at the Peyton Jordan Invitational in Palo Alto, CA this spring.

Her first full-length movie, “Tracktown,” came out this summer.

The film is about a young woman training in a small city in Oregon for a chance to compete in the Olympics.

Just like Pappas. And Pappas plays the character, named Plumb Marigold.

Plumb is trying to balance her training with her interest in having a social life. A love interest develops when she meets a man at a bakery.

“Tracktown” is named for the city of Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is called Tracktown because it is an important place for track and field events in the U.S.

A lot of competitive runners live and train there.

It is also the location of the USA Track and Field team Olympic trials. The trials conclude this weekend.

The top finishers of every race and competition there will earn a place on the USA Olympic team for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Many people wonder how Pappas is able to train for the Olympics and make a movie at the same time. But she says she enjoys having something that can keep her mind off running.

However, Pappas is extremely busy.

She could not even attend her film’s opening night in early July.

Pappas was in Amsterdam running for Greece at the European Athletics Championships. She finished the race in 32 minutes, 27 seconds and placed 11th.

Jeremy Teicher is Pappas’ real-life boyfriend. They made the film together.

At the movie’s opening event, Teicher said, “there's a real convergence of life imitating art and fiction."

Teicher called the city of Eugene a “really special location.” That is one reason why he and Pappas wanted to make a movie there.

If you watch the movie carefully, you will see some other real-life Olympic runners in the movie.

One of those runners is Nick Symmonds. Symmonds competed at the Beijing and London Olympics.

“Tracktown” will be shown at some film festivals in the future. The producers hope it will then be released at theaters around the U.S.

“Our secret goal is that there will be tour buses in Eugene one day taking you around to the locations where we shot,” Teicher said.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Tom Banse wrote this story for VOANews.com. Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Now that you know some more about Alexi Pappas, will you watch for her at the Olympics? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

convergencen. when two things join together

imitate – v. to make or do something the same way as (something else)

trialsn. a test of the quality, value, or usefulness of something

charactern. a person who appears in a story, book, play, movie, or television show

featuren. a movie that is made to be shown in a theater for entertainment: a full-length movie

bakeryn. a place where bread, cakes, cookies, and other baked foods are made or sold

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