Yesterday, history was made!
Austrian daredevil, Felix Baumgartner jumped from about 38 kilometres (24 miles) above New Mexico on Oct. 14. He completed the highest parachute jump in history, to become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier.
I just made it home yesterday in time to watch this fascinating man finish his assent. I was so glad that I hadn’t missed it all. Less than a week ago, I had watched his attempt be thwarted by a nasty, gusty wind. We had been counting down with him and were quite disappointed when it was cancelled. I couldn’t imagine how tough it was on him. You could see it on his face. The hours of work, the hours of delay all to just have to walk away until another day.
5 years in the making… and yesterday he saw it all come to fruition. He followed all the protocol, went through each step, faced a few challenges and I’m sure his heart was going a mile a minute. Finally, we got to watch him open the door to the pod. Looking down at the earth must have sent butterflies free-falling in his stomach. I know my heart jumped.
It was about to happen for him and for all those people who had worked so long. He stepped out and, though I don’t know Felix, I was so proud. I was also so aware of the fact that all around the world there were people watching the exact same thing as me. (over 8 million viewers on YouTube) We were all anxious and holding our breath to see him standing there. We were all in awe of the view. I was slightly terrified for him. There was no way I would be able to get out of that pod knowing how far up I was.
(I even hate ladders. So 128,000 feet would probably kill me. Picture me having a heart attack in the pod. Bad news all around. No records get broken if you die before you even get out.)
Felix and crew held a press conference after and a reporter asked Felix “What went through your head in that moment before your jump?” I love his answer. Without missing a beat, Felix replied:
“Well, I thought ‘Please God, don’t let me down’ but if you’re standing in His Son’s arms, there’s nothing that can go wrong at that moment … That is what I was thinking.”
And so he stepped off the platform and into free-fall My heart was in my stomach as I watched him fall. I was excited for him to break the records, but even more amazing was his willingness to try this feat at all. I’m thrilled that he broke numerous records (Mach 1.24!!) and I applaud him. I am so grateful that I was able to watch this brave man. I am fascinated by what makes this guy tick. What drives a man like him to attempt something so out of this world? If he can float up in a pod to 128,000 feet and free-fall back to earth because he has confidence that God’s got it under control… what could I/should I be attempting?
Congratulations Felix and crew!!
Did you get to watch Felix? How did you feel? What went through your head as he stepped out, stepped off? If you could be as bold and brave as Felix, what would you choose to do? I’d love to hear from you!
P.S. Check out this awesome footage of his free-fall from the camera on Felix’s suit: http://www.redbullstratos.com/gallery/?mediaId=media1902707739001