Amazing! New Smyrna daredevil, 55, defies gravity for veterans
By Richard Conn
January 24, 2014
The Amazing Sladek is one of the oldest performing circus daredevils in the country. He’s been at his unique trade for 36 years, ever since the former New York state gymnastics champion left college in 1978 to perform with the Royal Hanneford Circus. He never looked back and has no plans to stop, following the path of one his idols, the ever-active fitness guru Jack LaLanne who died in 2011 at the age of 96.
“I’m 55 years old, and my goal in life is to be 65 years old and still doing this act,” he said. “Because that would make me a phenomenon.”
Sladek’s resumé of stunts carries names such as “The Wheel of Death” and “The Human Cannonball.” He also performs a breakaway sway pole act from more than 70 feet in the air.
He’s performed the “Tower of Chairs” at NBA halftime shows from Philadelphia to Sacramento. He increased the act over the years from four to six chairs. On Friday, he said he had to pause just before he performed his handstand when a sudden gust of wind blew through.
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