Vitaliy Smolyanets

From Circopedia

Cat Trainer

By Dominique Jando

Vitaliy Smolyanets (2014)
Vitaliy Smolyanets was born in 1973 in Khartsyzsk, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. He joined the circus when he was 24 years old, and became an assistant animal trainer before becoming an animal trainer himself. He made his debut in the ring as a full-fledged cat trainer(English/American) An trainer or presenter of wild cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, etc. in 2005, when he was 32 years old. In March 2013, Vitaliy took part in the 6th International Festival of Circus Arts in Izhevsk, Russia, with his attraction(Russian) A circus act that can occupy up to the entire second half of a circus performance., The Lioness Empire, and won the coveted Russian Golden Bear. He had reached circus star status.

On February 9, 2015, during an engagement at the State Circus of Tver, Vitaliy was driving in the region when he saw the scene of a car accident; he stopped his vehicle and went to help the victims, when a truck driver who had not seen the accident scene in time, lost control of his vehicle and rolled over Vitaliy. Seriously injured, Vitaliy had to be amputated of both legs. To him, it seemed to be the end of his career, and he began to lose his appetite for life. Friends rallied around him (among whom the powerful brothers Askold and Edgard Zapashny), and began to help him financially and in publicizing his plight in the press and on television: soon, Vitaliy was hailed as a folk hero.

In July 2015, Vitaliy Smolyanets, stuck in a wheelchair, was presented by his fellow cat trainer(English/American) An trainer or presenter of wild cats such as tigers, lions, leopards, etc., Nikolai Pavlenko, the Master award for Best Animal Trainer at the first Master awards ceremony in Sochi, Russia. By then, Vitaliy, in spite of his debilitating accident, didn't consider anymore his career to be over: On December 19, 2015, fitted with artificial legs and walking with two canes, he returned to the cage with his lion and tiger act at the State Circus of Rostov, in front of an enthusiastic audience.

Vitaliy Smolyanets participated in the 2016 Idol Festival at the Bolshoi Circus in Moscow, where he won an unprecedented three Gold Idols: The Jury's, the Media Jury's. and the Audience's. He is married to horse trainer Inna Asayeva; together they have two sons.

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