Mary Sanders has dual citizenship of the U.S and Canada. Mary was a two-time Canadian Champion in Rhythmic Gymnastics until she made the unimaginable switch to compete and represent the U.S. to honor her father’s legacy. Mary’s dad, a Big Ten Champion from the University of Michigan, was a coach and mentor until he passed away from cancer when Mary was 8. To this day, he remains the fuel to her fire. Overcoming an incredible set of challenges from the outset that would have deterred many, she looked to her single mother and older brothers for inspiration. Mary became a 2004 US Olympian in Rhythmic Gymnastics, two-time US Champion, Pan American (5 gold medals), Four Continents Champion, two-time Athlete of the Year, USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame Inductee and earned the title as the most successful rhythmic gymnast in all the Western Hemisphere.
Cirque du Soleil scouted Mary immediately following the Olympics in 2004 to perform in two of their touring shows entitled Corteo and Delirium. Mary continued her career in Cirque du Soleil for 10 years as an acrobat, contortionist, trampolinist, rhythmic gymnast, aerialist, artistic coordinator, choreographer, coach, and creative collaborator in corporate sponsorship.
Mary was hired as the Co-Creative Director, choreographer & performer for the 2012 and 2016 40-state Gymnastics tour of Champions starring Simone Biles, Nastia Liukin, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and other members of the US Women’s Olympic Gold Medal Winning Team. Both tours were the most successful post-Olympic Tours in USA Gymnastics history.
Mary has also worked for many years alongside Shark Tank Star and Herjavec Group’s Founder and CEO, Robert Herjavec. Mary runs the Entertainment and Global Partnerships division within Herjavec Entertainment and directly supports the CEO in all functions. Additionally, she is responsible to help implement the strategic initiatives of the entire Executive Team.
Mary works in front and behind the scenes in large productions for TV/film while developing content for major networks and streaming services. Mary’s latest work has positioned her as an Executive Producer, and she also stars in “Olympians at Heart”. Mary is also a leader and mentor at Won for All . A trailblazing community of athletes, coaches, mentors, and executives that found their path and purpose beyond competition and help young athletes transitioning out of sport to find their direction in the next stage of their lives.
Mary is set to release her much anticipated memoir that will inspire women of all ages to constantly reinvent themselves in their personal and professional lives.
Friday, May 6ᵗʰ at 12:45 pm on Main Stage