Way Cool, Man

July 25, 2005
July 25, 2005

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July 25, 2005

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Way Cool, Man

A banged-up skateboarder becomes the first person to clear the Great Wall

JUMPING THE Great Wall of China is dangerous--a Chinese mountain biker was killed on a 2002 attempt--but skateboarder Danny Way made it look like a speed bump on July 8, clearing a 65-foot-wide section of the wall five times. His practice run, on the other hand, wasn't so easy. The day before, on his first try at Ju Yong Guan Gate, 30 miles north of Beijing, Way took off from his 65-foot MegaRamp. He immediately realized he wasn't going to clear the gap and began clawing frantically at the air. With his wife, Kari, and seven-year-old son, Ryden, watching, Way slammed onto the top of the 100-foot-long landing ramp. "It was definitely one of the scariest spills I've had," says Way. "[In the footage] it looks like I'm going to kill myself." His right ankle swelled to the size of a baseball and he could barely walk, but he refused to have it X-rayed. "Things are better left unknown," he says. (It turned out to be a bad bruise.)

This is an article from the July 25, 2005 issue

The next day more than 100 million people in China watched a live two-hour broadcast, during which a heavily taped Way became the first person to clear the wall without the aid of a motor. Afterward the 31-year-old from Encinitas, Calif., was presented with a six-inch piece of the wall. "All I thought about was, I could have done this better," says Way, who last year set a world record with a 79-foot jump. "And now that this is done, what's next?" --Yi-Wyn Yen

COLOR PHOTOGREG BAKER/AP (WAY)WALL OF FAMEWay completed his history-making jump five times.