The Athlete (2009 film)

The Athlete (Amharic: እትሌቱ, Atletu) is a 2009 Ethiopian drama film directed by Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew. The film was selected as the Ethiopian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards,[1] but it did not make the final shortlist.[2] It was the first Ethiopian film to be submitted in the category for Best Foreign Language Film.[3] The film has been reviewed in an international journal.[4]

The Athlete
Film poster
Directed byDavey Frankel
Rasselas Lakew
Produced byDavey Frankel
Rasselas Lakew
Written byDavey Frankel
Rasselas Lakew
Mikael Aemiro Awake
StarringRasselas Lakew
Edited byDavey Frankel
Release date
  • June 2009 (2009-06) (EIFF)
Running time
93 minutes
LanguageAmharic, English, Oromo, Norwegian

A mixture of fiction and stock footage, The Athlete is a portrait of the marathon runner from Ethiopia, Abebe Bikila. In 1960, he participated in the Rome Olympic Games as a complete unknown. However, the son of a shepherd ran barefoot and won the gold medal. Four years later, he repeated his feat at the Tokyo Olympic Games, becoming the first man to win the Olympic marathon twice in a row. A few years later, he suffered a car accident and lost the use of his legs. He died four years later.


See also


  1. "2010-2011 Foreign Language Film Award Screening Schedule". Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  2. "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  3. "65 Countries Enter Race for 2010 Foreign Language Film Oscar". Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  4. Aboneh Ashagrie. 2013. The Athlete: a movie about the Ethiopian barefooted Olympic champion. Journal of African Cultural Studies Vol. 25, No. 1, 119–121.
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