The sports realm had another collision with the political realm Monday in the wake of the New York Times mentioning in a long Matt Flegenheimer profile of White House adviser Stephen Miller that he jumped uninvited into a girls’ track meet in high school to prove men’s athletic supremacy.
That anecdote got a lot of Twitter attention, and led to Alexi Pappas (who was born in California and lives in Oregon, but became a Greek citizen in 2016 and competed for Greece in the 10,000 meters in the 2016 Rio Olympics) saying she’d happily race Miller:
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) October 9, 2017
ill race him any day https://t.co/VMgcnrvhaj
— Alexi Pappas (@AlexiPappas) October 9, 2017
Pappas competed for Dartmouth (2008-12) as a NCAA undergrad, earning two-time all-American status and being named one of nine finalists for the 2012 NCAA Woman of the Year award. She won the Ivy League steeplechase title in 2012 and competed at the U.S. Olympic trials. She then competed for Oregon as a master’s student in 2012-13, earning further All-American nods and placing eighth in the 6,000 meters at the NCAA championships, helping the Ducks to a national title.
In addition to running, she’s become involved in the film world as a writer, actor and producer, and filled all three of those roles in this year’s Tracktown. And she’s done very well on the track, too, finishing 11th at last year’s European championships in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters and finishing 17th out of 37 entrants in Rio in the 10,000 meters (and setting a Greek national record and a personal best in the process with a time of 31:36.16). She told ESPN’s Jim Caple then that competing at that level was a dream for her:
“The Olympics to me are permission to continue wanting things that I may or not get,” distance runner Pappas said. “Because I see so many people around me trying so hard as well. It’s motivating to be around that. The Olympics are permission to keep believing in yourself because hundreds of other people believe in themselves, and they want something. And it’s a scary thing to want something but it’s less scary to be in a whole village of people who want something they may or may not get. …
“There’s an element of it being a celebration. People want to do big things here, but everyone recognizes that it’s an achievement to be here and that the competitions themselves are celebrations.'”
Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time that Miller has become involved in the sports world. In addition to the aforementioned high school incident, he also was prominent as a student at Duke, appearing on Fox News to defend players and accuse the prosecutor of a witch hunt during the lacrosse scandal.
But the high school track story is something else, and it led to this interesting comment from Pappas. It seems unlikely Miller would agree to race her, but if he did, that might make for compelling TV.