The majority of human beings don’t possess athletic ability that will support them financially, and they certainly can’t perform any athletic stunts capable of going viral online. Most people are destined to live their entire lives without the exhilaration of performing an incredible feat of athleticism that brings a crowd to its feet, or leaves spectators awestruck by the physical achievement they witnessed. They are, for lack of a better phrase, mere mortals.
Although most people must endure athletic mediocrity, there are a handful of human gods walking among us who are capable of performing jaw dropping feats of agility and strength that leave us mortals questioning whether the laws of physics govern their bodies at all. Many of these visual spectacles are the result of years of training and the adrenaline rush athletes experience in a competitive contest such as a football game, basketball game, or soccer match. These moments give rise to sports heroes like Calvin Johnson, LeBron James, and David Beckham. The competitive fire of a real contest is the furnace in which these incredible moments and heroes are forged.
But what about the feats of athleticism, strength, and agility that occur outside of a competitive game? Surely there must be moments when professional and amateur athletes have exhibited amazing physical skill that inspires spectators, despite the absence of a scorekeeper or championship trophy at stake. Indeed there are. We have assembled ten of the most mind blowing feats of athleticism that didn’t take place in an organized competitive game setting. Whether it’s in practice, training, or the performance of a visual spectacle, these ten athletes prove the capabilities of the human body are well beyond what most of us believe them to be. You may be asking yourself why they perform these incredible feats, particularly those that involve potentially crippling or even lethal danger. They are members of an elite group of athletes who can break through the traditional limits of human performance, and their superhuman abilities compel them to show the world what they can accomplish.
10. Keith Eloi: Backwards Burst Out of a Pool
Aspiring National Football League wide receiver Keith Eloi became an internet sensation in 2009 after he jumped over the rear door of a pickup truck on YouTube to capture the interest of NFL scouts. He performed his gravity-defying stunt in response to another player’s forward leap out of a pool from waist-high water. Following the popularity of his truck hopping video, Eloi decided to make good use of his 44-inch vertical leaping ability again and took the pool explosion to another level. Later in 2009, he jumped backwards out of three feet of water and safely landed on the deck, making it look effortless in the process. But don’t let how easy this stunt looks fool you. Just imagine how difficult it is walking in waist high water before you discount the strength, agility, and vertical leap required to burst out of the water backwards and land on your feet. Jump to 0:45 in the video to see Eloi’s freakish leap out of the pool.
9. Shawn Oakman: 40-Inch Box Jump with 70-Pound Dumbbells
Baylor University defensive lineman Shawn Oakman became a social media celebrity in January 2015 after he approached the pre-game coin toss of the college football Cotton Bowl looking more like a professional gladiator than a student athlete. At 6-foot-9 and 275 pounds, calling Oakman an intimidating physical specimen is an understatement. He’s a monster. In May 2015, Oakman proved he possesses the athleticism to match his beastly physique by jumping forty inches from a standing position while holding a 70-pound dumbbell in each hand. Imagine the balance, strength, and explosiveness necessary for a man to safely and accurately launch 415 pounds forty inches in the air, particularly if he doesn’t have the ability to swing his arms to generate any upward thrust. Needless to say, Oakman’s athletic marvel is making the rounds on social media as well.
8. Stephen Curry: 77 Three Pointers in a Row
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has completely lit up the National Basketball Association during his five years in the league. So far, he has averaged 21 points and 7 assists per game, and nearly drained 1,200 three pointers. By the way, he was recently named the league’s most valuable player for the 2014-15 season.
Curry’s brilliance hasn’t been limited to his accomplishments in competitive games. In May 2015, he netted an incredible 77 three pointers in a row in practice as teammates and media members watched in astonishment. After he missed his 78th attempt, he went on to make a total 94 of 100 attempts for the day. Sure, you’re probably already discounting a feat performed during practice and wondering if NBA legend Allen Iverson would dismiss the shooting display by saying, “We talkin’ about practice, man.” Not so fast. Just try making five NBA three pointers in a row the next time you’re on a basketball court, and then remember what Curry accomplished and say it out loud. 77 three pointers in a row.
7. J.J. Watt: 61-Inch Box Jump
In just four years, J.J. Watt has taken the NFL and the internet by storm. The Houston Texans’ defensive lineman has amassed incredible game stats so far, including a whopping 241 solo tackles and 57 quarterback sacks. But Watt hasn’t limited his athletic achievements to the NFL gridiron. He has also become a social media standout by posting various viral videos of himself performing incredible feats of athleticism. Watt is best known for uploading his constantly improving box jumps to YouTube to drop viewers’ jaws in amazement. At 6-foot-five and 289 pounds, Watt is a two-legged mountain. But that didn’t prevent him from box jumping 61 inches from a standing position in April 2015. His numerous box jumping achievements also landed him a guest appearance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show where he displayed his gravity-defying prowess while wearing a suit. Other athletes have surpassed Watt’s 61-inch jump on YouTube, but none have done so with his massive size.
6. Al the Jumper: Frog Leap Over a Speeding Lamborghini
Alassan Gobitaca, or “Al the Jumper” as he is known in the daredevil world, is a high flying Swedish stuntman who has shocked YouTube viewers on more than one occasion with his death defying stunts. Gobitaca is best known for leaping over sports cars and motorcycles that race toward him at speeds up to 80 miles per hour, and he shatters world records in the process. In the above video, Gobitaca successfully leaps over a Lamborghini Gallardo, and makes it look effortless despite the obvious danger involved. He also reveals his grueling training regimen to maintain his elite jumping ability, and explains his crazy dream of jumping over two cars simultaneously. Yes, two cars. Not impressed? Consider the consequences if Gobitaca’s athleticism, timing, or nerves failed him when he reaches the point of no return while staring down a Lamborghini racing toward him at 80 miles per hour.
5. Byron Jones: World Record 12-Foot Broad Jump
Some athletic achievements force fans to do a double take and leave them wondering if what they saw was even real. Such was the case in March 2015 when aspiring NFL cornerback Byron Jones performed a jumping feat that left many viewers wondering if he had been assisted by expensive Hollywood CGI effects. While participating in the broad jump drill at the NFL Combine for future pro football players, Jones set a world record of 12 feet 3 inches and nearly flew off the television screen in the process. The awestruck reactions of the other athletic players witnessing the spectacle speak volumes about the incredible distance he flew. The crazy part is, Jones was hampered by a shoulder injury at the time and wasn’t even medically cleared to participate in the event. Rather than sit on the sidelines and interview with teams that could potentially draft him, Jones decided to make a superhero leap into the record books, and later earned a rookie contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
4. Garrett McNamara: Surfing a Colossal 100-Foot Wave
Surfing legend Garrett McNamara made global news in 2011 when he broke the Guinness World Record for the largest wave ever surfed by conquering a 78-foot wave. The Hawaii native wasn’t satisfied though. In January 2013, McNamara, age 45 at the time, rode a towering 100-foot wave off the coast of Nazare, Portugal and shattered his old record in the process. But so far he has refused to submit the feat to Guinness for official record confirmation. His incredible record breaking ride required not only hours of practice on his board and working out in the gym, but also Bikram yoga for increased flexibility and meditation designed to confront the physical and mental challenges big wave surfing presents. Words can’t describe the colossal wave he rode to achieve his record. The above video showing his tiny body surrounded by the mammoth 100-foot wave says it all.
3. Nik Wallenda: Blindfolded Tightrope Walk Between Skyscrapers
Nik Wallenda is a world famous tightrope walker and the seventh generation of Great Wallendas who trace their roots back to the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1780. Wallenda has been performing high altitude tightrope stunts for years, but he first captured the world’s attention in 2013 when he traversed 1,400 feet of the Grand Canyon on a two-inch cable suspended 1,500 feet above the ground. He completed this perilous walk without a harness or safety net and while battling winds up to 30 miles per hour.
In November 2014, Wallenda upped the stakes significantly by completing two passes on a tightrope no thicker than a penny stretched between two Chicago skyscrapers. The most shocking part is, he completed one pass of the tightrope blindfolded facing winds gusting at 25 miles per hour. Wallenda set two new Guinness World records that night: one for walking the steepest tightrope incline between two buildings (15 degrees), and the other for the highest tightrope walk performed while blindfolded (500 feet). Wallenda’s great grandfather died performing a similar stunt in 1973.
2. Aaron Evans: Flip Jumping Over Three Speeding Cars
For daredevil and parkour specialist Aaron Evans, simply hurdling over moving cars isn’t dangerous or challenging enough to be worthy of his time and talent. He insists on jumping over more speeding cars in less time than anyone else. In 2013, Evans set the Guinness World Record for the fastest head-on jumps over three separate moving cars, and he jumped over all three with front flips to crush the record in style. He destroyed the previous record time of 71.79 seconds with three incredible flips in 29.09 seconds. Flipping over moving cars is dangerous enough. But he put himself in additional peril by doing them so quickly, thus depriving his legs of recuperation time and increasing the risk of a deadly accident. Evans recalls receiving his inspiration to perform scintillating stunts from watching too many Bruce Lee movies as a kid.
1. Damien Walters: The Human Loop-the-Loop
Acrobat, free runner, and stuntman Damien Walters has been a star of the silver screen since 2008, but audiences likely had no idea they were watching him practice his craft as a stuntman for some of Hollywood’s action movie stars. Walters has performed amazing stunts in several popular action movies, including Captain America: The First Avenger, Skyfall, and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Walters’ true passion is performing unbelievable stunts that inspire spectators to rethink the limitations of the human body. He maintains a YouTube channel filled with his latest athletic endeavors that constantly push the envelope of physical achievement. His goals are rather different than everyday people grinding away at their desk jobs. “To be one of the first people to do things is always one of my ambitions,” said Walters. “I always want to try to keep pushing the boundaries even further and further and see how far people can go.”
In February 2014, Pepsi encouraged Walters’ ambitions by sponsoring his attempt to become the first human to successfully complete a loop-the-loop on foot. Walters and his team spent many hours identifying the scientific and physical requirements to accomplish what most scientists and athletes considered physically impossible. After several failed attempts and lessons learned, Walters pushed the boundaries of physical achievement and completed an unbelievable full human loop-the-loop. Jump to 2:21 in the video to watch him bend the laws of physics for a few seconds.