Spacejumper Felix Baumgartner: ‘Only the engineer saw me crying’

Felix Baumgartner celebrates victory after feeling a range of emotions during the jump.

Austrian Felix Baumgartner, 43, broke records for highest and fastest skydive with his 39-kilometer, 1,342 km/hour leap on Oct. 14 with the Red Bull Stratos team. Tens of millions watched his death-defying leap. We caught up with him after he returned to planet Earth.    

Metro: Where you able to stay calm or were there moments when you were losing it?
 
Baumgartner:
I was not calm, because when you travel at supersonic speed how can you be calm? But I never thought ‘I lost it’. I was constantly working out problems. I knew I was going to tumble. I knew it was going to be tough. But I was constantly working on it, using all my skydiving skills and experience and once I had the spin stopped I never lost it [control] again. I was on high alert; you have 50 seconds to stop the spin, you know you travel at supersonic speed and you know the whole world is watching. You are not calm, you are on fire but I am used to being on fire and keeping my head cool. My highest heart rate was leaving the capsule.

 
What memories will stay with you?
 
I don’t have a lot but the one that I had and that always makes me start crying was when I was sitting in the helicopter on the way back, because I had that image in my mind for many years. I knew that would happen if this would be successful… that picture of sitting in the helicopter flying back to mission control with all my buddies, parents and girlfriend waiting there. That picture was in my mind for so many years, I needed it to motivate myself in those moments when things were not going in the right direction. When that finally became reality it was an overwhelming moment that I still have in my mind. Only [engineer] Mike Todd saw me crying.
 

What’s the feeling of being a celebrity now?
 
It’s one thing being recognized by true fans that want personal Felix autographs, I’m always keen to do that stuff because I love my fans. But if it’s always the same bunch of guys who want me to sign their papers when I know it’s going to end up on eBay anyway, this is not a true fan – this is just people trying to make money out of me and that’s not cool. With true fans I will always take time to sign whatever they want but this group of people has been chasing me for two days.
 

What is the lesson from all this?
 
Enjoy the moment. Andy [Walshe, Red Bull Stratos performance director] taught me that. He had been working with Olympic athletes who prepare for a moment for 15 years, but you might never get it. If you can enjoy the journey – every workout, every moment of sweat – that’s what matters. I sucked up everything I accomplished along the way. I put it all out there and when it finally happened I was so happy.


FACTS

 
Felix Baumgartner: World’s greatest daredevil
 
Age: 43:
Nationality: Austrian
Partner: Gymnast Nicole Oetl, 26
Occupation: Now a helicopter pilot for emergency and commercial services. Was the world’s leading skydiver and BASE jumper.
Greatest missions: Flying from England to France with his own wings, the shortest base jump from Christ the Redeemer in Rio, highest ever skydive.
Motto: ‘Enjoy the journey’


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.