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‘The stars are aligned’: Man who was once afraid of heights prepares for world-record bungee jump

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Francois-Marie Dibon was afraid of heights as a child and struggled to dive from the side of a swimming pool.

But now the 44-year-old Frenchman is determined to set a new world record for the highest number of bungee jumps within 24 hours.

Mr Dibon, who works as an actuary in Stockholm, will attempt to break the record set by New Zealander Mike Heard, 35, who completed 430 jumps from Auckland Harbour Bridge during one day in 2017.

Mr Dibon will jump from the Garry Bridge near Killiecrankie in Perthshire, operated by Highland Fling Bungee in Scotland, jumping through the night while relying on short rest breaks and micro-naps.

“We have been thinking about this for the last five and a half years, with ups and downs and some road-blocks on the way,” he said.

“It takes a lot of trained staff to do something like this. Then the pandemic happened and the travel restrictions made it difficult for me to travel from Sweden to Scotland.

“Now the karma is good. The stars are aligned.”

In March, Mr Dibon suffered the equivalent of sea-sickness, due to the constant motion of going up and down on the elasticated bungee cord.

Undated handout photo issued by Highland Fling Bungee of Frenchman Francois-Marie Dibon, during a practice run, who hopes to break the world record for the most jumps in 24 hours at the Garry Bridge near Killiecrankie in Perthshire, operated by Highland Fling Bungee. Issue date: Sunday May 29, 2022.
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Pic: Highland Fling Bungee

But after 25 hours a week in the gym, focusing on cardio and core muscle exercises, and learning breathing techniques, he feels ready to enter the record books.

He said: “Like most people, I don’t like pain and I don’t like fear but I like the idea of facing your fears and trying to overcome them.

“For one whole week after my first jump my body ached because I was so stressed but I realised, then, that this was good for me.”

A bungee jump roughly every 200 seconds

Mr Dibon will need to complete a jump roughly every 200 seconds, watched by an adjudicator for the Guinness Book of Records.

His record attempt is scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning and he will be joined by a support team for what he described as a collective effort.

“Without me there is no record, without the team I will do only one jump,” he said.

“In 24 hours you only have 1,440 minutes.

“It might seem a lot but when you are under time pressure, every second we lose, if you multiply that by hundreds, you are losing time.

“Everyone’s role is so important.”

Laurie Thomas, jump master and operations manager at Highland Fling Bungee, said: “When Francois first jumped with us, he fell in love with the place.

“It is great to be part of this with him, and the team will have this on their CVs forever. Hopefully we are celebrating success.”

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