Extreme Sports Stunts
Shaun White, the "Flying Tomato," has made a name for himself in the past year thanks to his snowboarding prowess in the Olympics and his skateboarding virtuosity in the X Games. He flashed some of the latter at the Dew Action Sports Tour in Colorado.
In the 2006 X Games, Adam Jones completed a distinctive run in Moto X Freestyle. Some of the tricks he executed included a dead body, a kiss of death, a backflip cordova, a cliffhanger and a back flip can-can to a saran wrap. Somehow, all of that was only good enough for a silver medal -- Travis Pastrana garnered the gold.
This is probably not what Henry Ford envisioned. On February 11, 1998, stunt driver Brian Carson shattered his own 298-foot world record for "auto flight" in Las Vegas, soaring 314 feet at 93 mph. The sedan was a specifically constructed vehicle, of course, meaning that you have one more reason out of about a million to never try this at home.
For those not familiar with the sport of windsurfing -- its name alone might conjure an oddly peaceful event -- here is a prime example. Andy Clark soared over England's Isle of Wight in 2005, making the finals of the White Air Extreme Sports Festival.
Some might say that in this context, a giant "Life Saver" is ironic. Nevertheless, Brisbane's Jason Cloherty threw caution to the wind in pulling this trick during the BMX stunt competition in Australia in 1999.
For all those with a fear of heights, let's just say that BASE jumping wouldn't be the best activity for your mental health. In 2005, these jumpers leapt off the New River Bridge in West Virginia, joining 831 others in the 876-foot fall. The event, which drew 250,000 last year, is the largest annual tourist event in the state.
In this age of globalization, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. American Danny Way got air over the Great Wall of China in 2005, becoming the first person to ever jump over the wall without motorized assistance.
If it's called the "Ralphs Unlimited Hydroplane Thunder Tour," you can bet that there won't be any run-of-the-mill stunts. In San Diego in 1996, Joann Osterud flew her bi-plane upside-down between two boats in Mission Bay.
In 2006, in a place first made famous by Evil Knievel's 1968 motorcycle jump, X Games motocross star Mike "The Godfather" Metzger set a Guiness World Record. He completed a 125-foot leap that included a back flip over the Caesars Palace fountains.
For all those who find BMX to be as simple as, well, riding a bike, Ben Wallace has just the thing for you. He and Cambridge University physicist Helen Czerski developed a distinctive stunt known as the "Einstein Flip," in which Wallace spins backwards 360 degrees, while folding the bike underneath him.
At the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Shaun White won gold in the men's snowboard halfpipe. The 19-year-old is alternately and affectionately known as Il Pomodoro Volante in Italia.
In extreme sports, creativity is a virtue. This helps explain why in April 2006, skateboarder Danny Way jumped off the Hard Rock Casino Guitar in Las Vegas.
In Tasmania, Australian surfer Laurie Towner paddled himself into what was reportedly the biggest wave ever at Shipsterns Bluff. There was no Personal Water Craft, and for his effort, the 19-year-old earned a nomination in Billabong's Global Big Wave Awards in the "Monster Paddle" category.
Robbie Knievel, Evel's son, honored his father in 2006 the only way a Knievel knows how: riding his motorcycle 180 feet through the air as pyrotechnics exploded below. It was part of an annual event known as "Evel Knievel Days" in Butte, Mont.
Evel Knievel is a master promoter and the Michael Jordan of American stunts, but not even he was successful all the time. In 1974, in a much-publicized attempt, he failed to clear the Snake River Canyon in a rocket. The hype surrounding the event, however -- complete with his signature star-spangled garb -- helped entrench him as a household name.