Officially amazing: wheelchair Guinness World Records
We are all amazing in our own way, but some are officially amazing! Meet wheelchair users who hold a Guinness World Record
December 3rd is International Disability Day. For this reason, we are presenting incredible achievements of wheelchair users who made it into the Guinness Book of Records.
"Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon."
For many people, the sky is the limit. Some of them are craving for adrenaline, while others are expanding horizons of their limits. Guinness World Records honors such people who are challenging their spirit and body beyond the ordinary. The vision of Guinness World Records is "to make the amazing official". In this blog post, we will meet some world record titles holders in the wheelchair and their stories.
Longest journey by wheelchair
Rick Hansen is a remarkable visionary holding a record for the longest journey by wheelchair. In 1985, he set out on the Man in Motion World Tour. He traveled 40,000 km in 26 months and across 34 countries. By doing so, he raised 26 million dollars.
About his motivation, Rick said:
"I am driven by a deep passion and need to make a difference and leave this world a little better than when I arrived. That’s what keeps me going."
His dream was to find a cure for paralysis and to bring together organizations and individuals for an accessible and inclusive world. With the money raised through his tour, he founded the world-renowned Rick Hansen Foundation. By raising awareness and funding spinal cord injury research and care, the foundation continues to improve the lives of people with SCI for over 30 years.
Most consecutive free throws from a wheelchair
In 2019, Kipp Watson, a passionate promotor of wheelchair basketball, set a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive successful shots (12) from the free throw line while sitting in a wheelchair – at the age of 69! It took him two years to achieve his goal.
His intentions are not to rest on his glory:
"If this coronavirus thing settles down and the gyms reopen in the next three months, I think I can get back to where I was in about six months, and then I’ll try to break my own record."
Most manual wheelchair spins in one minute
Stephen Rainy is a wheelchair mechanic and has always been mad about sport and spinning. In 2015, at the age of 24, he spun his way into the record book with 66 manual wheelchair spins – on the rear wheels – in one minute.
One of the goals of attempting the record was to raise awareness of the wheelchair services provided by his employer in Liverpool. He said:
"I hope that my success now helps influence wheelchair users to take part in sports and activities."
In this video, you can see Stephen's successful record attempt as well as other amazing "acrobatic" wheelchair records:
Fastest wheelchair marathon
Manuela Schär is a Swiss world-class Paralympic athlete. She set a number of records, such as the fastest woman’s wheelchair marathon in the T54 category and the first World Marathon Majors Grand Slam.
After a tragic swing accident at the age of nine, Manuela was undergoing a rehabilitation program in Nottwil. Since then she is training at the sports arena of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre.
In an interview with The New York Times, she said that being part of the community of highly successful Swiss wheelchair racers has been central also for her success:
"It was just great to be included in a group of people who were in the same situation but seemed to be so happy and active and just, like, normal. I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been that way."
Heaviest aircraft pulled over 100 meters by a wheelchair team
A team of wheelchair users joined their strengths and set a world record for the heaviest aircraft pulled over 100 meters. They made it happen in 2018. What a team spirit!
Aerobility is a UK based charity which offers the opportunity to wheelchair users to learn how to fly and to gain a pilot’s license at an affordable price. They organized the 'Wheels4Wings' event to foster awareness about the challenges people with disabilities face in aviation, as passengers within the aircraft as well as at the controls.
Embracing challenges without limbs but with passion and humor
"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it."
J. M. Barrie, author and creator of Peter Pan
Are you nodding, "Yes, I might try someday", or are you whispering to yourself, ˝Oh no, I could never do something like this"? In both cases, it is worth reflecting on inner strengths and beliefs about our own limits, especially in times of personal crisis or challenging circumstances like now.
Whatever you decide to do, it is always helpful to embrace challenges in life with passion and humor. Nick Vujicic, born without arms and legs, is a good example. In 2010, he achieved a Guinness World Record by giving the most hugs in one hour. Afterwards, he said:
"I'm the world 'Guinness Book of Records' holder of 1,749 hugs in one hour. My arms fell off."
Imagine yourself receiving the Guinness World Record certificate. What record is written on the certificate?