The Athletic Coup introduces its Sonic Logo

The Athletic Coup Sonic Logo

2024 COUP

The Athletic Coup introduces its Sonic Logo

- Composed by Paralympic Swimmer Damian Pietrasik and Sonic Signature Prodigy Nina Anto

“The city has a sound I remember well,” says Damian Pietrasik, who represented Poland at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, Greece, which is now home to The Athletic Coup festival. Damian is a blind composer, pianist and sound engineer, and a Paralympic swimmer. He is part of myAUDIOSIGN, which is a collective of sonic signature Wunderkinder, founded by pianist, composer, and music producer Nina Anto.

“It needs drums,” Damian said, and referred to a progressive sound for Athens, and also a classic, raw one, leveraged in Olympic opening ceremonies.

The two of them got together in Damian’s studio in Warsaw to produce the Sonic Logo for The Athletic Coup.

Nina Anto headshot

Nina Anto, who traveled in from her current home in Los Angeles, watched the festival’s award-winning documentaries and feature films on the flight to Europe. She says: “What I picked up from these experiences when watching was that what’s really important in all of them is - the journey and emphasizing the process and emotional experiences over just outcomes.

Another inspiration became the word 'persistence’, if you want to become an athlete you need to show up everyday and keep doing what you love, same for us musicians - we understand that well, we need to show up everyday to our practice. This festival is a unique and important celebration, and I wanted the athletes, filmmakers, organizers and the audience to feel special when hearing the sound logo. What a joy to be a part of this wonderful initiative called The Athletic Coup!"

Nina Anto added: “Our goal became clear. It was to emphasize this quality of a journey, persistence but also motivation, and passion that’s often bigger than every obstacle on the way.”

The Athletic Coup’s sonic logo features a layered drum arrangement symbolizing the interaction of mind, body, and soul, accompanied by the claps of joyful loved ones—steady, yet in motion.

Interview with Damian Pietrasik

Damian Pietrasik headshot

Damian, you're blind, yet you've become an accomplished jazz pianist, composer, sound engineer, recording studio owner, and Paralympic swimmer who has traveled the world on the strength of your achievements, whether at jazz festivals, the Paralympics, or swimming competitions. The Athletic Coup is all about telling the stories of how sport has helped people overcome hardships or limitations in life. Can you please share a bit about your journey, and the importance of swimming for your mental well-being?

Let me start from the beginning.

When I was 9 years old, I lost my sight due to cancer. On one hand, it was a total shock, but on the other, it opened up entirely new possibilities, new horizons, and spaces within myself that I didn't know existed. The school for the blind in Laski offered me development in many areas: sports, music, education, but it also gave me a chance to learn independence and how to function in the world. I was a 9-year-old child, detached from my family home, but I had an instinct that pushed me towards the world, towards self-reliance.

In 2000, I had the opportunity to meet Paralympians who had returned from Sydney. That was when I thought it was my chance, that I had to do everything to go to the Paralympics. Sport built within me a fighting spirit, proving that pushing our limits leads to strength and sometimes gives us a second chance. In my case, swimming strengthened my character and gave me the courage to live. I believe that through sports, I was able to go to university, start a company, develop my music career, and that sport provided the foundation for my self-worth and resilience.

Before I had the chance to go to the Athens Paralympics, I trained in swimming for four years, and even earlier, I was involved in athletics, so I have been connected with sports since I was 10 years old. Sometimes it was very tough. After the Athens Paralympics, I experienced two years of regression, but in 2006 something suddenly unlocked, and I began to rise again. I went to the World Championships in South Africa, where I won silver and bronze medals, making significant progress in my swimming results. A year later, I won a gold medal at the World Championships in Brazil, and in 2008, the long-awaited silver medal at the Beijing Paralympics. In 2009, I won another gold and two silver medals at the European Championships in Iceland and ended my sports career. Since then, I have been fully devoted to music and creating perfumes, which also involves creating and shaping reality.

The Athletic Coup against the backdrop of Athens, the birthplace of physical excellence. It was here, in the summer of 2004, that you participated in your first Paralympics. Can you please share your memories of that time in Athens?

The Paralympic Games in Athens hold a special significance for me. It was an explosion of emotions, impressions, and my first major competition. I had not even been to the European Championships before, and I was only 18 at the time. I will never forget those wonderful people, the Olympic village, the cheering, and the volunteers. There was also a very sad story. During the Paralympic Games, the volunteers included children from various schools. I will never forget an incident during a bus trip when one group of children had a road accident in which several children died. It was a huge shock for me, and I want to pay tribute to those children, who probably few remember, but I do.

I often recall the impressions from the opening of the Games. I heard powerful drums as I walked with the Polish team around the magnificent, historic stadium. Everything was thundering, my insides were vibrating, and the air smelled of summer rain. That's how I remember it. I felt then that it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life, and it truly was.

As part of myAUDIOSIGN, you create sonic signatures and entire sound universes for NGOs and brands. How does sound guide you in your life?

Since losing my sight, sound has become my most important sense; I perceive everything around me, including human emotions and moods, through my ears. I was interested in music even before I started professional sports. I graduated from music school with a focus on piano. In music school, I played many instruments: saxophone, clarinet, guitar, classical organ. This greatly helped me later in my work as a composer, arranger, and producer. I have collaborated with many artists, including Milo Kurtis, a well-known musician of Greek origin in Poland, who played on my jazz album "River."

Currently, one of my activities is creating sound logos with Nina Anto and Roberto Sacco. These are not ordinary sound logos. We always strive for them to evoke associations, emotions, and spirit. Every sound is important, every note, chord, and rhythm. The emotional message is extremely important to us, just like in music. Music is emotions and energy.

You are a role model for many people struggling with the pressures of life. What advice can you give about persevering and not giving up that has helped you?

If I can be a role model for someone, it is a huge compliment for me. I would like everyone who reads this article to think about themselves and feel that they can achieve more, fulfill their dreams, pursue their passions, and that they have the strength and positive energy to do so. Many things are indeed possible to accomplish.

Thank you!

Listen to Damian Pietrasik's music on Spotify & Nina Anto on Spotify