He spent 44 days suspended from a glass box by the River Thames in London. He was buried alive for a week in a see-through coffin in New York.
Magician David Blaine’s latest feat of endurance likely will last less than 17 minutes, but he’s planning to do it in front of talk show queen Oprah Winfrey – and her audience of millions.
Blaine on Wednesday will try to break the world record for breath-holding during a live broadcast of The Oprah Winfrey Show, less than two years after going into convulsions during a similar attempt.
The time he has to beat is 16 minutes and 32 seconds, a record set February 10 by Switzerland’s Peter Colat, according to Guinness World Records.
Even though Blaine has sometimes attracted thousands of spectators to what he likes to think of as his “performance pieces,” he said on Tuesday that it will be a challenge to break a record requiring him to remain still and calm amid the hubbub of a live studio audience.
Still, he said, the crowds have always contributed to his success.
“When you commit to it and there’s people watching, you kind of have to stick to it. You can’t back out, you can’t fade away and you can’t cheat,” he said.
“If I was doing it alone, I’d probably be off sneaking out of the box in London or grabbing some food,” he said with a laugh, speaking in a conference room in a Harpo Productions building a couple blocks from Winfrey’s television studio.
Blaine, 35, will be attempting his latest stunt in a water-filled sphere, dubbed a “human aquarium” by his team, that’s 2,5m in diameter. He’ll try to remain perfectly still, relax and lower his heart rate to minimise oxygen consumption.
But before he enters the sphere, he plans to spend about 23 minutes breathing pure oxygen through a mask to saturate his blood with oxygen and flush out carbon dioxide. Up to 30 minutes of so-called “oxygen hyperventilation” is allowed under Guinness guidelines, according to company spokesperson Laura Plunkett.
In May 2006 – as a finale to a week spent in the aquarium with an oxygen mask at New York’s Lincoln Centre – Blaine tried to set a new breath-holding record. Without breathing pure oxygen beforehand, he tried to break the existing record of 8 minutes, 58 seconds.
But he had to be rescued shortly after 7 minutes when he was unconscious and having convulsions.
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