Longest breath-holding - world record set by
2] CHICAGO, USA--Magician David
Blaine has set a world record for the longest breath-holding,
by holding his breath for 17 minutes and four seconds on Oprah
Winfrey's US TV.
"A lifelong dream," a relaxed-looking Blaine
told Winfrey immediately after setting the record. "I can't
believe that I did that." (enlarge
“I feel great,” the silver wetsuit-clad
American said as he was pulled to the surface. “I actually
started to doubt I was going to make it because I’d never
done it with such a high heart rate.”
Blaine said he had managed it by staying
in a meditative state which was helped by the stage lights
reflecting off the sphere.
The feat was broadcast live during "The
Oprah Winfrey Show" and the studio audience cheered
as divers pulled Blaine from a water-filled sphere. He looked
relaxed afterward and said the record was "a lifelong dream."
Photo: In this photo provided by
Harpo Productions, Inc., magician David Blaine is shown
inside a sphere where he set a new world record for breath-holding
Wednesday at 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds, during a live
telecast of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," in Chicago.
David Blaine sits a top a sphere where he set a new world
record for breath-holding, Wednesday, April 30, 2008,
at 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds, during David Blaine sits
a top a sphere where he set a new world record for breath-holding,
Wednesday, April 30, 2008, at 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds,
during a live telecast of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," in
Chicago.George Burns / Harpo Productions (enlarge
Magician David Blaine poses for a photo Tuesday,
April 29, 2008, in Chicago. Blaine will attempt to break
a record for holding one's breath under water Wednesday,
April 30 during a live broadcast of "The Oprah Winfrey
Show." The current record is 16 minutes and 32 seconds;
Blaine plans to breathe pure oxygen for about 20 minutes
before entering a water-filled sphere. (AP Photo/M. Spencer
the latest attempt inside a sphere filled with 1,800 gallons
of water, Blaine spent 23 minutes inhaling pure oxygen, packing
his lungs with extra oxygen just before the breathing tubes
Up to 30 minutes of so-called "oxygen hyperventilation"
is allowed under guidelines.
An average person in good health can hold
their breath for about two minutes, but with even small amounts
of practice it is possible to increase that time dramatically.
"The body can be trained," explains Dr. Ralph Potkin, a pulmonary
specialist who worked with Blaine in the weeks leading up
to his recent feat.
After Blaine filled his lungs with pure
oxygen, his heart rate remained at 130 during the second minute
of the breath-hold and then stayed above 100 for much of the
time. It was 124 in the 15th minute. The higher the heart
rate, the more quickly oxygen is consumed, and the more painful
the carbon dioxide buildup.
But apparently his CO2 tolerance training
(repeated breath holds every morning) was just enough to compensate.
In the last minute his heart rate became erratic and he got
concerned enough to start rising from the bottom of the water-filled
sphere, but he kept his head underwater more than a half minute
longer than the old record of 16:32. Blaine has said he was fascinated by
holding his breath since he was a child, using the skill to
excel in swimming races at a YMCA in the New York City borough
of Brooklyn, only needing to breathe when turning at the wall
for another lap.
The previous record was
16 minutes and 32 seconds, set Feb. 10 by Switzerland's Peter
The record without the pure oxygen,
which Blaine failed to break during an attempt last year in
Manhattan's Lincoln Center, is 8 minutes and 58 seconds.
With or without pure oxygen, holding
your breath is a difficult and dangerous pasttime even for
elite athletes. When not done carefully, it can lead to drowning,
or to potential tissue damage in the heart, brains or lungs.
Preliminary results from Dr. Ralph Potkin's research into
apnea's long-term effects show some abnormal brain scans among
young, extreme free divers.
Blaine's previous stunts include being buried alive
for a week in a see-through coffin, spending more than a month
suspended in a box by the River Thames in London and being
encased in a block of ice for 63 hours.
Next, Blaine said he plans to try to break
the world record for staying awake. The current record is
11.5 days, he said. However, both World Record Academy and
Guinness said they no longer acknowledges such attempts because
of health concerns.