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Competitors converge on the Han River for record high wire challenge

Posted by jtsmyth8 on March 5, 2008

They came from all over the world, poles in hand, and feet ready to inch more than half a mile across a high wire strung over the Han River in a spine-tingling battle of balance, speed and high anxiety.

As part of its annual city festival, the South Korean capital staged Thursday what was billed as the world’s first high-wire championship, drawing 18 contestants from nine countries for three days of supreme feats of concentration.

Each acrobat must navigate the 1.2-inch-thick wire that spans the river, with the top prize of $15,000 going to the person crossing it fastest.

The contestants _ 14 men and four women _ include such masters of the high wire as Jade Kindar-Martin of Shelburne, Vt., a former Cirque du Soleil performer who once crossed London’s River Thames at a height of 150 feet, and Colombia’s Alan Martinez, who ambled across the Amazon.

They will face Adili Wuxiuer of China _ the world record-holder for distance who walked on a wire nearly a half-mile across the Chongqing Cliff at a height of 2,250 feet in 2003.

Organizers in Seoul said stringing the wire across the Han made it the longest-ever such high wire, meaning anyone making it across will break the record for distance. (story)

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