"Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports ... the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat ... the human drama of athletic competition." - Opening lines from ABC’s Wide World of Sports
In today’s world, extreme sports seem more the norm than the exception. For the summer enthusiasts amongst us you’ve got the X-Games and for any of you snowbirds out there you have the Winter X Games to keep you occupied. However, back in the 60’s those kinds of things weren’t an option and cliff diving was one of the few things that I can recall seeing on television that came close to what might be considered death defying events.
Clad in nothing but an early version of a speedo, divers from around the world would climb up a huge cliff and hurl themselves into the waters below. During their descent they would due a series of twists and turns along with some somersaults to try and impress the judges and win the competition.
Picture this. There you are standing about 125 ft above the surface of the ocean. These are no placid waters either. The ocean is pitching back and forth and with the rolling of the waves, the depth can range anywhere between 6 and 16 feet. The divers have to time their dive just right so they don’t crash headfirst into the ocean floor. They also have to gauge the wind correctly in order to avoid being blown back into the face of the cliff.
Once those minor details are tended to, the divers (no running start) then jump off the cliff and will hit the water at about 46 miles per hour. The slightest miscalculation could result in disaster.
If you ever find yourself with nothing to do in Acapulco, Mexico you might want to catch some live action. A group known as the La Quebrada Cliff Divers do this kinda stuff for a living. They risk their lives and put a show on daily for the viewing public. They have even gotten so good at their trade that they perform their skills at night and will make their jump with a torch in hand.
I’ve done some crazy shit in my life but from a personal standpoint, I’d never have the balls to even attempt such a thing.
Besides, nobody in their right mind needs to see me clad in only a speedo.