After putting in years and years of gymnastics training, many gymnasts wonder what they will do with their lives. Former UGA gymnast and USA National Team Member, Ashley Kupets is done with her competitive gymnastics career, but has found a way to take all her training and skills to a new level as a member of the cast of La Reve at the Wynn Theater in Las Vegas.
Ashley, the older sister of the newly crowned 2009 NCAA All Around Gymnastics champion Courtney Kupets, wasn't sure what to do job-wise when she graduated from UGA. Even with a degree in graphic design, she just felt the need to act or perform – something she had been doing since she was a little girl in the gymnastics arena.
According to the Online Athens story,
When Kupets told Suzanne Yoculan her aspirations, the Georgia gymnastics coach put her former athlete in contact with a casting director, who had e-mailed her the day before.
Two weeks later, Kupets was on a plane to Las Vegas for her first audition.
“I didn't know what I was getting into,” she said.
Kupets was put through a series of tests – strength, choreography, improvisational dance, tumbling and trapeze work. But the most grueling part was the swimming portion.
She had to swim 250 meters without stopping, swim 65 feet underwater without coming up for air, drop 30 feet from a trapeze into the water and tread water for 10 minutes.
“It was just crazy stuff that I've never done before,” Kupets said. “It was exhausting, but it was so much fun.”
A week later, the 24-year-old was told she had the job. She picked up and moved to Las Vegas in November to begin training for the show.
“It's not a place where I would have thought I would ever move,” she said. “I didn't know anybody here. I didn't know where I was going to live. It was really scary. But I felt like it would be a really good time for me to grow and become the person who I'm going to be for the rest of my life. It's an incredible experience to be on your own so far away from home and not know anyone.”
Kupets' sudden move surprised her former coach.
“I'm very proud of her because she's very introverted. She's very shy,” Yoculan said. “For her to just break out and go out there, it's not something that you would have expected Ashley Kupets to do.”
After two months of training, including scuba diving certification, Kupets performed in her first show in late January. She dances, does aerial acrobatics, tumbles and swims in at least two major acts in back-to-back shows five nights a week.
Its neat to see the different career paths collegiate athletes take, and this one seems to be such a natural fit for Ashley while still challenging her in many ways. I can only wonder if little sister Courtney will follow again in her footsteps, return to Elite competition or forge a completely different path all together.