【Unlocking Word Meanings】
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. stunt / stʌnt / (n.) – a performance that shows a person’s skill, as in athletics
Example: That was a really great stunt!
2. erect / ɪˈrɛkt / (v.) – to build, construct, or raise
Example: A new building will be erected here next year.
3. midair / mɪdˈɛər / (n.) – a point above ground level
Example: The plane was in midair when it encountered some problems.
4. propel / prəˈpɛl / (v.) – to cause to move forward or onward
Example: That experience propelled me to try something new.
5. fatality /feɪˈtæl ɪ ti/ (n.) – deaths resulting from a certain event
Example: The police is worried about the growing number of fatalities in the city.
Read the text below.
A skydiver from Washington jumped off a plane 7.6 kilometers above the ground without a parachute.
Forty-two year-old Luke Aikins accepted the idea a few years ago when some people from Hollywood asked him to participate in the greatest reality TV stunt of all time. Aikins is a skydiving expert, having taught skydiving over the years and participating in world-record skydiving events. He has done skydiving stunts for movies and boasts an achievement of around 18,000 jumps. In addition, his family owns a skydiving center in Washington.
The record-breaking jump happened in July in California. Aikins landed on a net erected specifically for his stunt. He trained for the stunt weeks prior to the jump by doing more than thirty practice jumps. During those jumps, his parachute was released just 1,000 feet above ground.
Aikins was given the option of being handed a parachute in midair, but he declined. However, on the day of the jump, the Screen Actors Guild required him to wear one. The skydiver stated that despite wearing a parachute, he would not use it—a claim that Aikins followed through by remaining parachute-free throughout the jump.
Skydiving is considered a high-risk sport that requires years of training. Beginner skydivers are typically accompanied by skydiving instructors. This is called a tandem jump and is often a one-time thing, which propels a beginner towards becoming a solo skydiver.
Despite its scary impression, skydiving is generally safe. Statistics show that around 3.1 million jumps occur every year. Out of these jumps, the average number of fatalities is only around 55, making up less than 1% of the jumps that actually take place.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
· If you were Luke Aikins, would you accept the offer to skydive without a parachute? Why or why not?
· Why do you think some people are hesitant to try skydiving?
· Do you think extreme sports are worth a person’s time and effort? Why or why not?
· What are some safety precautions that one can do before venturing into such activities?