The Olympics & Circus--How They Overlap: Ongoing Coverage

Circus News

The Olympics & Circus–How They Overlap: Ongoing Coverage

What do the circus and the Olympics have in common? There are obvious answers like action and excitement, suspense and mastery, but there is more–a history of cross-pollination even. Some of the circus disciplines themselves cross over into Olympic sports (trampoline anyone?) and some of the Olympic sports cross over into circus (BMX has been featured in Cirque du Soleil’s Volta for example). Don’t forget the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, the exact type of spectacle for the large-scale shows of the circus. There is a precedent of directors hired on to produce the ceremonies, and circus artists themselves with specialized skills that play well to a huge crowd, such as Joe Dieffenbacher, physical theater teacher and director who appeared in and co-created Closing ceremony sequences for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London.

In 2018, Reuters reported on how some Olympic athletes felt drawn to circus after the fanfare of one’s life goals being achieved had faded, claiming Cirque du Soleil hired 17 Olympians, stating “Gone will be the routine, the sports funding and the support system that sustained them. Some will return to school, some will move into the coaching ranks — and some will run away to join the circus.” The New York Times reported similarly in their article titled ...

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Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell has written about circus for CircusTalk.News, Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and was a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association.