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Gaming Guru

Jerry Fink

Olympic Memories Still Ring for 'Mystere' Performer

21 February 2006

You don't have to travel to Torino, Italy - where the 2006 Winter Olympics are now under way - to watch Olympic-class athletes perform.

It probably shouldn't be too surprising but Cirque du Soleil, which produces four athlete-dominated shows in Vegas ("Mystere," "O," "Zumanity" and "Ka"), has six former Olympians in its productions.

One, Sergiy But, 36, (formerly of the Ukraine), has been with Mystere at Treasure Island since 1999.

But competed in Acrobatic Skiing in the 1992, '94 and '98 Winter Olympics. He has been in the cast of Mystere since 1999.

The other five athletes are with "O," the water-based production at the Bellagio.

Sergei Kudrevich (Belarus, Russia) was a diver in the Summer Olympics held in Atlanta in 1996.

Suzannah Bianco (San Jose, Calif.) won a gold medal in synchronized swimming in the '96 Olympics.

Madeleine Perk, another synchronized swimmer, competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Gymnast Zoltan Supola (Hungary) participated in three Summer Olympics -- '92, '96 and 2000.

Synchronized swimmer Lesley Wright (Saskatchewan, Canada) competed in the 2000 Olympics.

Every four years, when the Winter Olympics dominate the sports pages, a wave of nostalgia sweeps over But.

"I still have a lot of friends over there," But said. "I watch them (compete) on television - there is a lot of Adrenalin."

But began training on the trampoline at the age of 11 and began competing in the Ukraine Junior Championships in 1984. He soon after developed a passion for acrobatic skiing.

In 1990 he was recognized as the top acrobatic skier in his country.

When his Olympic career ended, he joined "Mystere," performing routines on a three-side trampoline, the Korean Plank and Chinese Poles.

"I was just time to move on," But said of his decision to leave Olympic competition. "I had a strong feeling for more (competition), but I decided it was enough."

Buble Effect

Michael Buble looks younger than his 30 years, almost too young to be on the road to becoming one of the hottest new performers around.

The Canadian-born crooner, described by some as the next Frank Sinatra, has come out of nowhere to capture the hearts of millions of fans who love the standards and the way Buble sings them.

The only phenomenon I can compare it to is Josh Groban, the pop-opera star who suddenly is one of the hottest performers on tour.

Buble recently completed a four-night engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Every night was standing room only in the 1,700-seat theater - all of the tickets were sold almost immediately.

He did not disappoint his fans, interacting with them throughout a performance that was the epitome of coolness.

Dressed in a black suit and white shirt open at the neck and tie that was loosely tied around his neck, Buble glided easily around the stage, belting out many songs long forgotten by today's youth who are more attuned to monosyllabic songs with incomprehensible lyrics that assault the ears.

"It's a New Day."



Buble's natural charisma had the audience in his power from the first to the last song.

If Buble's rise to stardom is comparable to that of Groban's, it might be because both have been guided by David Foster, a multi-Grammy Award-winning producer and nurturer of young talent.

Buble has the added advantage of being mentored by Paul Anka.

But his biggest boost may have come from singing "Come Fly With Me" in a commercial for Starbucks.

Turner returns

Displaced by Hurricane Katrina in August, former Vegas entertainer Earl Turner has returned to his roots, and has brought several of his New Orleans musicians with him.

On March 2 Turner and his crew begin an engagement at Palace Station's Sound Trax.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, with an additional show at 10 p.m. on Saturdays.

Tickets are $34.95. For more information call 547-5300.

Before moving to New Orleans in 2004, to perform at Harrah's in a showroom that was named after him, Turner was a popular entertainer at many venues in and around Vegas.