Artists and staff of "Cirque du Soleil" pose in front of a banner depicting Argentine forward Lionel Messi during a rehearsal of the Messi10 show. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images

"Circus acts may lack the competition of sports, but [Cirque du Soleil's] shows are no less physically demanding. At times, they can require even more specialized athleticism," writes SportTechie's Joe Lemire.

By the numbers: During a catch-and-throw exercise for Messi10, a new show based on the life of soccer icon Lionel Messi, one performer experienced 15 times the force of gravity (15 G).

"Apollo and Mercury astronauts in the first days of the space program, they were hitting 8 G. Now we know that a Cirque performer is potentially doubling the G-force of an astronaut who is re-entering Earth. That is [expletive] cool, right?"
— Steve Gera, CEO of Gains Group

"Cirque also has a long performance season, exceeding even the marathon schedule of big league baseball," writes Lemire.

  • "Resident shows are staged 380 to 470 times a year, and touring shows perform around 300 times — with training of about 12 hours per week."
  • "And while ball clubs have the luxury of deep farm systems, Cirque's specialization means there's little by way of a minor leagues outside of maybe one or two understudies."

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