Mission accomplished for Danny Way
Imagine. You’ve just summoned the courage to hurtle down a 100-foot ramp and jump 70 feet across a colossal bricked section of China’s most famous historical monument on a skateboard and repeat the feat four times in one afternoon. What do you do next?
At least, that’s what Danny Way did. After successfully becoming the first person to jump the Great Wall without motorized aid (video and photos), Danny faced a small crowd of media, officials and fans (and Shanghaiist) and promptly broke into tears.
One might suspect that physical pain was a factor. Only the day before, he’d taken a fall during a particularly gnarly practice session and injured his shoulder and ankle (the crew member who informed Shanghaiist that Danny had come off his board and somersaulted down the half-pipe like a block of rolling cheese, also told us that he needed cortisone injections to continue with the official jump). Then on the Saturday he crunched himself quite badly during the last of his five attempts at the Wall.
Still, this is a man who once dropped out of a helicopter on a skateboard while also harbouring some fairly savage injuries. So we’re not sure if he feels pain the way mere mortals do.
Rather, it was Danny’s emotional tribute to his deceased father that had him welling up in the aftermath of conquering the Juyongguan Gate, 40 minutes outside of Beijing. The skating champ attributed his successful career to his father and dedicated the day’s triumph to his memory. It was a fittingly dramatic speech to end a dramatic sporting achievement.
Earlier, strong gusts of wind had come funnelling through the valley and it felt for a while like they might threaten to disrupt proceedings. The wind certainly troubled Shanghaiist: having sneakily turned our media passes round the wrong way in order to creep into the VIP tent to drink all the free Tsingtaos (beneath a sign that read: “No Media”), we almost had our cover blown by the strong breeze spinning our B-list passes back to the frontal position.
Thankfully the wind died and the small crowd of onlookers (and very, very large crowd of police and security) watched as Danny climbed the makeshift staircase in the belly of his MegaRamp and assumed his position at the top.
Then, with a minimum of fuss (no announcement, no drum roll), Danny rolled off the edge of the vast incline and into the history books.
Well, not quite. He actually failed to land his first jump. But after that it was all plain skating.
As the daredevil repeatedly picked himself up from the timber and went back to jump again, Shanghaiist again became concerned. Not so much for Danny’s safety (as mentioned earlier, he seems utterly indestructible when it comes to skateboarding injuries), but for the amount of times he had to climb the gigantic ramp. On five occasions he hauled himself up that thing — equivalent to an afternoon spent scaling half the Jinmao Tower. Meanwhile Shanghaiist walked up one short flights of stairs to a viewing platform and felt like Bill Murray doing push-ups in Stripes.
The show eventually came to a close, with Danny’s entourage leading him away — presumably for an ice bath — and a fleet of buses transporting everyone back to Beijing to party into the night (and the next night, which might help explain the tardiness of Shanghaiist’s follow-up post).
Not that skateboarders necessarily party that hard. After all, it was this same hairy, pierced and tattooed group who, on the way back to the capital, sang a rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.” In tune, too.
On a day of jaw-dropping antics, this one possibly took the cake.
Also on Shanghaiist:
Skater to jump the Great Wall (no, not lengthways)
Danny did it! (four times, too)