World of Sport

Baumgartner retiring after skydiving from space

World of Sport

Felix Baumgartner is retiring from pulling off record-breaking skydives just a day after becoming a household name with his leap from 24 miles.

"I'm retired from the daredevil business," he said in Roswell, New Mexico, after Sunday's feat.

"I want to find a nice decent job as a helicopter pilot. I'll fight fires and rescue people. No e-mails, no phone calls."

The 43-year-old took his decision not just because he has no more worlds left to conquer, but because he claims to have been genuinely scared for his life as he reached 833.9mph.

"It was like hell," he said.

"The exit was perfect, then I started tumbling. I thought I'd get it under control, but then it really started. I really picked up speed, it got very violent. It was really brutal at times.

"I thought for a few seconds, I'll fall unconscious. Thank goodness I managed to stop, it was very difficult. It was much more difficult than many of us expected.

"In that situation, when you spin around, it's like hell and you don't know if you can get out of that spin or not. Of course it was terrifying. I was fighting all the way down because I knew that there must be a moment where I can handle it.

"For some reason, that spin became so violent, over all axes, and it was hard to know how to get out of that spin.

"It's like swimming without touching the water, and it's hard because every time it turns you around you have to figure out what to do. So I was sticking my arm out, then it became worse.

"I had a lot of pressure in my head. But I didn't feel like I was passing out. I was still feeling OK. I thought 'I can handle the situation.' And I did."

Baumgartner, who delayed his leap several times to ensure optimal conditions, admitted that the thought of plunging to his doom with his nearest and dearest all watching had terrified him.

"You do not want to die in front of your parents and all these people. I thought 'please God, don't let me down,'" he said.

But he already has his next big challenge lined up: getting married to girlfriend Nicole Oetl.

"He loves Nicole like mad and now will walk her up the aisle as he has achieved the ultimate in his profession," a friend of the daredevil told the Daily Telegraph.

We wish him luck. If the planning of Baumgartner's wedding turns out even half as stressful as World of Sport's did, he'll probably end up wishing he'd stuck to the skydiving.

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