Baumgartner: "Millennium" BAMBI
In October this year, the Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner completed a spectacular stunt by jumping from a height of 39 kilometres (24 miles) at a speed of up to 1342 kilometres per hour (834 miles per hour) as part of the Red Bull Stratos project. By doing so, he became the first person to prove that it is possible to break the sound barrier in a free fall without mechanical assistance and survive this feat. He also set a number of world records, namely the highest manned balloon flight, the highest jump and the longest distance covered in free fall. The entire world followed these dramatic events on television and online and the mission was additionally used to collect medical and technical data for scientific research. Felix Baumgartner is being awarded the BAMBI 2012 Award in the category of "Millennium" for this unique achievement.
When explaining its decision to present the award to Baumgartner, the BAMBI Jury stated that: "No other person has ever jumped from this height, descended such a long distance in free fall or reached such a speed in free fall: Felix Baumgartner made what seemed to be impossible possible when he travelled through the stratosphere and back down to earth with his parachute. By completing this jump from a height of 39 kilometres, the extreme athlete has proven what a person can achieve when they push their limits and fascinated the world with his unique achievement. By achieving this feat, which involved many years of preparation, Baumgartner not only broke three records but also created a global media event that fascinated all generations on a scale that has not been seen since the moon landing in the 1960s."
Felix Baumgartner was born in the Austrian city of Salzburg and developed his passion for flying at a young age. He completed his first parachute jump at the age of 16 and went on to perfect his parachuting skills as a member of a special unit of the Austrian Armed Forces before turning professional. Baumgartner began his career as a BASE jumper in the 1990s and became the World Champion in this discipline in 1997. His career has been full of pioneering acts and extraordinary projects ever since, for example a world record for the highest BASE jump from a building in 1999 (the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur), the lowest BASE jump ever in the same year (from the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro), the highest bridge jump (from the Millau Viaduct in France) and the new highest jump from a building (the Taipei 101 Tower in Taiwan). On top of all this, Baumgartner also became the first person to cross the English Channel using a specially developed carbon fibre wing and no motorised assistance in 2003. His jump from the stratosphere has now ensured that his name will go down in history and never be forgotten.