The Athlete

YEAR. 2008
GENRE. Biopic/Documentary/Drama
DIRECTOR. Rasselas Lakew & Davey Frankel
PRODUCTION. Instinctive Film
CAST. Rasselas Lakew, Ruta Gedmintas, Dag Malmberg
LOCATIONS. Bulgaria, Norway, Ethiopia


Running the streets of Rome in 1960, an unknown, barefoot Ethiopian man stunned the world by winning Olympic gold in the marathon. Overnight, Abebe Bikila became a sports legend. A hero in his own country and to the continent, Bikila was the first African to win a gold medal and, four years later in Tokyo, the first person in history to win consecutive Olympic gold medals in the marathon. This soldier and quiet son of a shepherd is considered by many the greatest long-distance runner in history.

But his life story only began with Olympic medals. One evening while returning to his home in Addis Ababa after training in the Ethiopian countryside, fate would present this remarkable champion with his greatest challenge; to dig deep within, not just to run the next mile, but to find the will to live. The race of his life had a new beginning and would lead him to places he could never have imagined.

Shot in 35mm from the Arctic Circle to the Equator, The Athlete is an extraordinary narrative feature that seamlessly blends autobiography, biopic, drama, and documentary. This beautiful and moving independent film tells the true life tale of a man who is ceaseless in his journey for greatness.