After finding his way to Tennessee, an Australian man got to work attempting to break a world record.
Damien Rider was on a tour in the Mid-South for his book, One Breath Meditation, last year when the pandemic shut almost everything down. Rather than worrying about what to do next, he heard about the opportunity to jump from a hot air balloon as part of the Bluff City Balloon Jamboree in Collierville, WREG reports.
An ultra-endurance athlete, Rider got to work, learning how to skydive just for the event where he hoped to break a Guinness World Record title. His training efforts culminated on Friday morning (June 18) when he rode on top of a hot air balloon as it rose 7,500 feet in the air above Whiteville. When it reached its height, he leaped from the balloon, diving down a short ways before deploying his parachute and landing safely.
Rider had originally hoped to jump from a height of 13,000 feet in the hair, but the weight of the crew and equipment on the balloon kept it from going much higher.
Even though the balloon did not soar as high as he was expecting, it was an opportunity he is glad to have experienced.
"It was amazing," he said. "I just wanted to show people how to reach new heights."
One reason Rider is so motivated to inspire others is because he is a survivor of child abuse. He wanted to bring awareness to the issue while showing children see how far he has come and that anything is possible, according to the news outlet.
As of Friday afternoon, it is unclear if Rider's attempt to break the record was successful, but it will be determined by Guinness World Records.