LOS ANGELES -- Daredevil skateboarder Danny Way rolled down a massive ramp at nearly 50 mph and jumped across the Great Wall of China on Saturday, becoming the first person to clear the wall without motorized aid, an event sponsor said. Way botched the landing on his first attempt but then successfully completed the jump across the 61-foot gap four times, adding 360 degree spins on his last three tries, sponsor Quiksilver, Inc. said.
"I was aware of the dangers and my heart was pumping in my chest the whole time, but I managed to pull it off with the help of my team, and I'm honored to have my visions embraced by the people of China," Way said in a statement.
A crowd of several thousand people, including China's ministers of extreme sports and culture, gathered at the Ju Yong Guan Gate about a 40-minute drive from Beijing, Quiksilver's greater China marketing director Ryan Hollis said.
"It was pretty fantastic," Hollis said in an interview from Beijing. "He really has spent quite a few years even thinking about this whole idea. It's been in logistical planning for about eight months. ... It was pretty amazing today to see this happen, to see it adopted by the culture, adopted by the government."
Way made the jump on an adaptation of the so-called mega ramp, a gigantic structure that he helped create near his home in the Southern California desert. He set a skateboard jump world record for distance (79 feet) on a mega ramp at last summer's X Games, and in 2003 set the height record of 23? feet at the desert ramp.
Event sponsor Quiksilver, based in Huntington Beach, Calif., makes skateboard apparel.