Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Extreme Pogo Jumping

I'm thinking of a hard-core sport, something to flush out the wimps and poseurs. Extreme pogo jumping, or "expog," is becoming the extreme sport du jour among brave, innovative young men like Pierre Panoyan. In an interview before his tragic first jump near Medicine Hat, New Mexico, Pierre displayed more than a little nervousness as he told an AP reporter, "This may be a big mistake."

As it turned out, he was right.

Expog is a simple sport in theory, but it does require the use of a helicopter with an experienced pilot. The expogger is taken to a height of 3,000 feet, whereupon he or she leaps, sans parachute and holding only a pogo stick, into thin air. No parachute is used because the whole idea of ascending to such height is to slam into the ground with your pogo stick as fast as possible. Again, in theory, the expogger will bound back up to 1,500 feet, then 750, etc.

That critical part of the stunt has never been completed. All 14 people who tried are either dead or, in one case, living a machine-dependant life in a mason jar in the basement of St. Anne's Hospital in Font-du-Lac, Minnesotta. Despite that, the enthusiasts who are dedicated to Expog are a hardy sort. "We're stubborn, landing this move is the most important thing in my life," says Michael Sanders, the world's leading expogger, "'s who I am."

UPDATE: Michael Sanders was killed earlier today in a bizarre bowling accident.

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