Olympians Extend Careers in Cirque Shows

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The Las Vegas Review-Journal has an awesome article on a couple of Olympians who have moved onto careers with Cirque du Soleil. Featured in the article are Synchronized Swimmers Maurizia Cecconi and Christina Jones who represented Italy and the United States respectively; Diver Sergei Kudrevich who represented Belarus, former Romanian gymnastics star Rares Orzata who competed at the 2000 Olympics and 2008 Olympic Trampoline participant Ben Wilden (pictured above) who represented Australia. 

You can read the article here: http://www.lvrj.com/living/olympians-extend-careers-in-cirque-shows-163325646.html but here is some quotes with Wilden and Orzata:

Meanwhile, Wilden has that very cool double-wing trampoline, which is probably still too bizarre for the X-Games, much less the Summer Olympics.
"I love it," he says, smiling. "I love learning how to do fun things. That wing-to-wing is something that changes your perception of gravity."
Transitioning from the demands of athletic competition to the more artistic demands of show business wasn't that difficult, Kudrevich says, although it was different.
Orzata says he had to learn performance and acting skills - for example, "not to be ashamed and basically (to) forget your fears and perform who you are" - for his roles in "Love" and his other Cirque shows.
Of course, the athletes are used to others watching as they perform. But, Wilden says, becoming accustomed to performing in front of a few thousand people at once took a bit of time.
But, he adds, now, after having performed in front of so many Cirque audiences, "I think I could go into competition now better than I could before, because I'm not nervous anymore."
In fact, Wilden says, "I'm excited. You can feel the crowd. When people say energy flows from the crowd, I guess until you've had thousands come and watch you, it's something that really doesn't make sense."
It also was odd, Orzata says, to substitute for the exacting precision competitive gymnastics requires to the less-rigid demands of art.
"I think at the beginning it was strange to move from (these) straight lines that gymnastics has - very focused all the time, very precise, very concentrated - and go more into art," he says.

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