Mach 1.24. 24 miles above Earth. 834 miles an hour (unofficial). A 4 minute 20 second free fall.
That’s what Felix Baumgartner did this Sunday. 65 years to the day that Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier.
It took him almost 2.5 hours to get to the 127,000 plus height in order to attempt the jump or, if you prefer, fall. It took some 5 years of planning and test jumps. It took him less than 10 minutes to land on solid ground in New Mexico.
The question does get raised, why?
While some ponder this question others sit back in awe. This event was amazing enough to have some 8 million people watch the fall on YouTube which by some accounts was 16 times larger than their previous record. So it’s pretty obvious why YouTube would stream it live (Red Bull is a main partner on the site just like the UFC and WWE) but that doesn’t answer the question as to why?
Is this fall sport? Yes. Is it a scientific experiment? Yes. Is it a home run for Red Bull as far as marketing and media? Absolutely. The best tweet seen all day was, ‘boy what does 5-hour energy have to do to beat this?’
For each person it probably satisfies some sort of primal function. This was sport because it is almost impossible to measure how technically and physically demanding this fall was on Baumgartner. It was scientific. Imagine the questions that had to be asked and answered in order for this man to do this and survive. And yes it was done in the most progressive way imaginable as far as marketing and media is concerned.
In the end, it’s an idea. One imagined, sold, and rallied to and then celebrated by the world. It’s a talking point for the next year. It provides hope that all is not lost in this age of negativity. It shows us that ‘if man can think it he can do it.’ In the end, it’s something to be proud of.