Is it a bird…Is it a plane…it's Russian flying man
Last month, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner made history with his record-breaking 39-kilometre jump from space.
Russian Valery Rozov doesn't climb that high, but still produces stunts that are arguably just as dangerous and spectacular.
As the 47-year-old base jumper has become the flying king of the mountains, performing his jumps in a wingsuit.
“Baumgartner did a great thing,” he told RT. “The project itself was very expensive, using lots of new technology. However, it wasn't a very hard jump in terms of parachuting technique. I'm still more focused on projects where I can apply my skydiving skills.”
Rozov's career as an extreme sportsman started in the army where he was a professional mountaineer.
At the age of 29, he switched to parachuting, becoming the two-time world champion and 1998 X Games winner in sky-surfing, before focusing on skydiving in a wingsuit and helping revolutionise the sport.
One of the skydiving legend's most breathtaking feats was accomplished at one of the most iconic mountains on earth, Shivling, in the Himalayas.
It took him six days to climb the six thousand meter peak and just 90 seconds to get down after becoming the first Russian to reach the summit.
“It was a very challenging aim,” the daredevil explained. “We weren't an ordinary mountain expedition. We had to climb up with all our equipment, including the cameras. Our goal was not to reach the summit, but to perform a skydive and shoot it. But, even though we took an easy route, it was very hard to get to the top. We had only one day to do the jump and, luckily, the weather was good. And I managed to perform the skydive.”
A mountaineer, a skydiver, a sky-surfer, a base jumper, a snowboarder and much more besides – the fearless Russian pushes the boundaries of every sport he does and he has even invented his own – base climbing.
It’s a mixture of mountaineering and base jumping that's been his passion over the past decade.
“Always being focused on setting new records in extreme sports is a dead-end street,” Rozov said. “You should just do what you like doing the most, and try to succeed at that. First, I finished ‘the university of climbing’ so for me to perform a skydive from a mountain that I'd just conquered is something truly special, added to the fact that nobody has done it before.”
However, Rozov is not only inspired by mountains. In 2009, the Russian daredevil became an internet hit after he skydived in a wingsuit from a helicopter, to land in an active volcano's crater in Kamchatka.
The technology involved in the sport has developed quickly, allowing Rozov to use wingsuits that fly faster and further, reaching speeds of 250 kilometers per hour.
The Russian trailblazer simply loves to fly, and, in his latest achievement, he glided around eight kilometres above the Tartar Strait, in one of his most daring flights so far.
“The plan was to cross the straight that separates Sakalin Island from the continent,” he explained. “The tricky challenge of it is that there is a lot of wind, blowing in different directions. And, if I didn't reach land, I'd end up drowning, as a wingsuit quickly fills with water. I did all my usual things, but the conditions where very tough.”
Remarkably, Rozov has completed around 10,000 skydives and base jumps so far, and has already confirmed his status as one of the most innovative extreme sportsmen in the world.
This skydiving addict often requires adrenalin rushes and never stops planning his next projects in search of new thrills.
There are other mountains to conquer, and skydives to perform as Rozov aims to produce more breathtaking highlights to an incredible career.
Thrice world champion in parachute sport Valeri Rozov at RIA Novosti news conference on 2nd International Extreme Sport Festival.(RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkin)