Extreme Sports and the Burj Dubai

By Sumayyah Meehan, MMNS

burj dubai
Computer-generated image of the Burj Dubai.

The world has never seen anyone who can match the death-defying feats performed by Evel Knievel, the Greatest Stuntman to have ever lived. Although many have tried and succeeded with their own risky stunts, no one has ever dared go to the extreme heights Knievel went to in order to wow spectators and fans. That was until now.

We should have seen this one coming. Dubai undertakes constructing the tallest building in the World, Burj Dubai, which is still under construction and already stands at 630 meters tall and is expected to reach 900 meters by completion, which would make it twice the size of the New York Times building in the US State of New York. And before the plaster can even dry on the walls, the daredevils and extreme sport junkies have already begun to descend on this tiny Gulf nation. So far, two men have ‘base’ jumped from the Burj Dubai. Only one was successful. A British citizen jumped from the 150th floor landing on the ground as Dubai police waited to arrest him for trespassing. He faces up to a year in prison. Another man, a French citizen, did not even make it to the building as he was arrested when police spotted him with his ‘jump’ gear.

Now the world’s most infamous daredevil known as ‘Spiderman’, hailing from New York, has set his sites on the Burj Dubai. In a recent interview, Alain Roberts was quoted as saying that his plans for the future include scaling the monstrous building. Roberts has already been arrested numerous times for criminal trespass, endangerment and graffiti as he often spray paints a message once he scales a building. He has already scaled the current top three largest buildings in the world, so climbing the Burj Dubai will definitely be on the ‘To Do’ list of the seasoned adrenaline junkie. However, the climb will still be illegal. It remains to be seen just how Roberts not only plans on entering the country (authorities in Dubai have most likely already been alerted to his plan) but also his strategy for evading security at the Burj Dubai. If the attack on the World Trade Center taught us anything it is that tall buildings are targets for terrorism simply because of their iconic status and the number of people they can hold. And at the Burj Dubai security is already tight as a drum even though it is not yet complete. Perhaps ‘Spiderman’ will exchange his red-leotards in favor of a black ‘burqa’ for the Burj Dubai climb?

If Evel Knievel were still alive even he might marvel at the boldness of the latest stunts that use the World’s tallest structures as a base. However, when it comes to the mammoth Burj Dubai, daredevils might think twice about climbing, or even jumping, from the very top once completed. Architects have already anticipated that the top of the structure will sway a bit in the wind due to the sheer height of the building. It is estimated that the Burj Dubai will sway at least 1.5 meters, which could make even veteran daredevils lose their balance, or perhaps at least their lunch.


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