Evel Knievel’s star burned brightly in the 1970s, dimmed a bit after some famous failures and a short jail stint for assault, and flared again after his death in 2007. The man famous for leaping over things in his motorcycle – sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing – was, for many, a person whose name was synonymous with taking physical risks.
It seems some people prefer their challenges a touch less motorized.
Forgive me for a moment, but I am from an older era where roller skates had four well-greased wheels placed at the corners of the skate; in-line skating was restricted to ice skates when I was visiting roller rinks. There was loud music, flashing lights, and people like me who had significant trouble stopping without smashing into padded walls.
In retrospect, I expect the higher speeds possible with in-line skates would have allowed for far greater injury during some of my collisions. On the other hand I’d have missed the opportunity to see people risk severe bodily harm.
There’s the Evian water-sponsored 11 person jump performed in 2012 in Los Angeles by Jeremy Strecker, a roller derby champion. Considering that he did it without any protective gear, he absolutely risked harm… but the person who speaks on camera at the beginning of the video is the truly brave (stupid?) person, because he’s number 11 in that line. If Strecker failed, it would have meant high-speed skates and a falling adult body slamming into his ribs. At least in theory… the jump actually shifted to the left a bit after the ramp, so the wheels passed over the speaker’s thighs and groin.
That is a far distant second in dangerous skating, however, compared to Taig Khris of France. Khris is a classical daredevil; what look like simple feats are carefully planned with significant math done to allow the minimum injury. This is him setting the world record for height jumped while on roller skates. He dropped 131 feet from the Eiffel Tower onto a ramp.
He followed that up by setting the distance record for a successful jump on skates. 95 feet, soundly defeating the old record of 79 feet, from the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris and silencing anyone bringing up the old canard about the bravery of French people.
Question of the night: Have you ever gone roller or ice skating?