Athletics in freefall

French skydiver Michel Fournier didn't manage to break the world free fall record last week because his balloon left without him. He was aiming to skydive from 40,000m up, or around 25 miles, and it would have been the fastest free fall, as well as the longest. What puzzles me is why he didn't try to go that little bit further and skydive from 26 miles, 385 yards up, as this would have enabled him to smash the world marathon record. Haile Gebrselassie has run the distance in 2 hours, 4 minutes and 26 seconds, but Fournier could've covered it in under 20 minutes.

It's probably too late for the Beijing Olympics, but London 2012 should look seriously into trying to get every world record broken in this way. Imagine the excitement of the men's 100m final as 8 muscular sprinters plunge through the sky from a platform over 300 feet up, smashing the recently set world record of 9.72 seconds, and then themselves. Yes, the medallists would end up on the podium in bodybags, but think of the TV coverage.