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[The Backstory]

The glory of cleaning

Ana Martinez of the Monte Carlo celebrates after winning the vacuum race during the Annual City Wide Housekeeping Olympics at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday, August 14, 2013.
Photo: Leila Navidi

24th Annual City Wide Housekeeping Olympics | Mandalay Bay Events Center | August 14, 2013, 8 p.m.

This was my first year covering the annual Housekeeping Olympics, and I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the Mandalay Bay Events Center. I thought maybe I would see some vacuums lined up to race, bed sheets ready to be unfolded and mingling housekeepers waiting to compete. First of all, the sound was deafening. Cheering, costumed teams from all the major casino-resorts packed the stands. For all the intensity and team spirit on display, it might as well have been the real Olympics. After watching the competition—including flourishes of bed making, intense vacuum cord winding and blindfolded buffer tossing—I came away with newfound respect and admiration for those who keep this town looking shiny and new, day in and day out.

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