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From triathlon star to Oscar nominee

Five-time world champion Lesley Paterson's movie "All Quiet on the Western Front" has been nominated for 9 Oscars

Photo by: xterraplanet.com

You want dedication and perseverance? Lesley Paterson’s incredible triathlon career included three Xterra world titles, two World Triathlon Cross-Triathlon championships. Along the way she dealt with more than a few adversities – injuries were one thing, but chronic Lyme disease really set her back. She overcame all of those challenges, though, to achieve those incredible results – but that was all for only one of her careers. All the while she had another gig on the go – making a movie. Turns out winning a bunch of world titles was probably the easier of the two.

“I gained this relentlessness, the idea of never giving up, that sport has taught me every step of the way,” she says. “Many times in the past 16 years did we think, ‘This film isn’t going to happen,’ but we kept on going.”

In 2006 Paterson and her writing partner, Ian Stokell, purchased the rights to the World War I novel All Quiet on the Western Front, and they began adapting it into a screenplay. It took 14 years before they finally were able to get the movie produced, but now it’s a top film on Netflix and was recently nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

For Paterson, what makes both the novel and now the movie so special is the message.

“It’s such a powerful novel,” Paterson says. “It’s an absolute piece of art. The way it’s written, the message it’s held, and it being about the other side. It’s such a unique anti-war message, because we’re used to hearing stories told from the Allied side, the winning side.”

We’ll find out on March 12 if Paterson and the film win any of those Oscars. You can read more about Paterson and her journey in the upcoming issue of Triathlon Magazine.

With files from Ben Snyder-McGrath