With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London kicking off tomorrow, Las Vegas can’t help but reflect on (and brag about) our own Olympians, who have transitioned from the Olympic games to some of the most thrilling shows right here on the Strip.
Who said you had to travel to London to watch the world’s best athletes take on their sport of choice? You certainly can do that, or you can just fly to Las Vegas and watch seven former Olympians – including gold, silver and bronze winners show off their award-winning talents in more than one show on the Strip including “O” at the Bellagio, Mystere at Treasure Island, V The Ultimate Variety Show at Planet Hollywood, and Le Reve The Dream at Wynn Las Vegas.
Take Christian Jones for example, the member of the U.S. synchronized swimming team that competed in the 2008 Bejiing Olympics is now one of three former Olympians who has brought his athleticism to Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic adventure “O.” Jones joins Miho Kono and Kanako Kitao, both Japanese synchronized swimmers who have won a bronze in the 1996 games and silver in the 2004 games respectively.
In Le Reve, there are five former Olympians – all synchronized swimmers as well – who hail from the United States, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Brazil.
And there are other athletes who never quite placed during their time in the Olympics but continue to perfect their skills right here in Las Vegas. Ben Wilden shows off his incredible trampoline talents on a trampoline you wouldn’t expect anybody to jump on. Let alone twist, turn and fly into the air in the Cirque show Mystere. Wilden competed in the 2008 Bejiing Olympics on Australia’s gymnastics team in trampoline. And there are several others who just shy of making the Olympic team or placing in the games have made Las Vegas their home and we couldn’t be more thankful for that.
Another amazing gymnast is the Ukrainian beauty, Tamara Yerofeyeva, performing at V The Ultimate Variety Show. She place sixth in the all-around in Sydney at the 2000 Olympics. After her rhythmic gymnastics career, she worked for Cirque du Soleil before landing her role at V The Ultimate Variety Show.
It may seem odd that Olympians have gone from competing in the greatest competition in the world to performing in Sin City but if you think about it, it’s the perfect post-Olympic job. In fact, Jones said in an interview that he had always known he’d want to end up performing in Las Vegas after he stopped competing.
Cirque executives recruit gymnasts, synchronized swimmers, and divers every year to be in their shows. The company won’t consider athletes if they are still competing but they keep in contact with recruiters who let them know when somebody is leaving the competition world.
And we’re glad they do because the athleticism and feats they bring to the stage are the reason why Las Vegas is considered The Entertainment Capital of the World
To see former Olympians perform in “O,” Le Reve, V The Ultimate Variety Show, and Mystere look for discounted tickets right here on Best of Vegas.