Plummeting from a height of 24 miles and breaking the sound barrier, the Space Jumper captured the imagination of a nation desperate for entertainment during a harrowing election season.
Felix Baumgartner, a BASE jumper with ambitions beyond leaping off of bridges for the amusement of his friends, ascended high into the sky and fell to Earth as 8 million people watched live on YouTube.
It is said that Red Bull gives you wings, but this Red Bull-sponsored daredevil had no need of feathered appendages during his controlled fall. Gravity was doing all the work as he plunged from the heavens.
Though Austrian by birth, the Center for American Freedom wishes to celebrate this man for embodying the American spirit: Daring, dashing, and a little daffy, Baumgartner's adventures recall those of a long line of daredevils willing to put their lives at risk to show the limits of human endurance and enliven our otherwise dreary existences.
Fearless Felix, as his fans know him, will forever be emblazoned in our memories, a testament to what we can accomplish when we willingly—and safely—leap from extremely high places.
Published under: Men of the Year