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Why do extreme athletes like Dean Potter risk their lives?
Why do extreme athletes like Dean Potter risk their lives?

It’s hard for many people to comprehend the risks athletes take for the sake of extreme sports. BASE jumping, for instance, is inherently dangerous — skydiving from a fixed object instead of an aircraft, with little time to react or correct course should a problem arise. So why would daredevils like rock climber Dean Potter, who died Sunday while BASE-jumping from Yosemite’s Taft Point overlook, make what seem like crazy leaps, time and time again? The motivation probably boils down to biology and context, psychologists said Monday, and, at least in the case of elite athletes like Potter, it doesn’t have much at all to do with a foolish or willfully...

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