Fortunately for Ramirez, the owner of the clothing store was a former University of Miami diver.
When he found out about Ramirez’s credentials, he pointed him toward the Hurricanes club program.
Ramirez enrolled in night school to learn English and accepted a scholarship to UM in 1997 at age 23. He became a three-time All-American for the Canes and finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2000.
Only the top two make the Games, however, and Ramirez’s life took another twist when a Cirque du Soleil scout watched him compete and convinced him to become a performer in the O show.
Ramirez was reluctant at first and even more so when he found out he would be diving from 60 feet — twice as high as his NCAA platform competitions.
“It was very scary at first,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez did the show for three years and still visits with the cast whenever he’s in Las Vegas.
But all those years of diving and performing left him feeling empty.
“I wanted more lasting fulfillment and more meaningful answers,” Ramirez said. “I started studying the wisdom of the Kabbalah, spiritual laws that help you live a chaotic-free life.”
Ramirez, who left Cirque du Soleil in 2007, spent much of the past five years becoming a student and a teacher of the Kabbalah.
But he missed sports, and the opening at FIU was the perfect opportunity for Ramirez to combine his knowledge of diving with his new-found serenity.
Beaupre, FIU’s lone diver, is the beneficiary of Ramirez’s undivided attention. They talk extensively during their car rides to and from practice.
“Sabrina is a great athlete, and her diving skills are strong,” Ramirez said. “I believe she can go far.”
His work with Beaupre is just the start of his second career, and — who knows? — maybe one day Ramirez will finally make the Olympics, as a coach.