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'Athlete of the decade' returns home to Grand Rapids for performance

Posted at 12:22 PM, Dec 19, 2019

A world-renowned athlete has returned home this week to perform in Grand Rapids.

Christine Van Loo is a 7-time national champion, born in Grand Rapids. She lived here for 3 years before her family relocated.

In the 1980's, Van Loo was named athlete of the decade by the US Sports Acrobatics Federation. Her training began when she was 8 years old, and much of it was self-taught when she was young.

"There were a lot of mistakes that I made at the beginning," said Van Loo. "I had lots of rope burn, and I tore all the skin off my fingers and hands. I set the back of my leg on fire doing a slack drop on the wrong kind of fabric."

Van Loo's career has taken her all over the world to places as far as Korea and Australia. She has also performed at events including the Grammy's and American Music Awards. Back at home, she is performing with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra on Wednesday and Thursday.

"This is the epitome of performing because when you can perform with an entire symphony orchestra below you, and you can feel the music through you, there is nothing more special than that," said Van Loo.

Tickets for the 10th annual Cirque de Noel show are still available for Thursday's performance .