Some Might Consider Him Off the Wall

Danny Way made history at the X Games last summer. He made ancient history last month.

Way, who set records outside Staples Center a year ago for the longest, highest jump on a skateboard in the big air competition, cleared the Great Wall of China four weeks ago, becoming the first person to accomplish that feat without motorized assistance.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, Way’s name was officially inscribed on the centuries-old barrier, the first Westerner to receive the honor.

Way, a 31-year-old from San Diego, has limped back to the X Games this year, where he’s scheduled to defend his title in the big air competition Sunday at Staples Center.


He injured his ankle in his only warm-up before the Great Wall jump, but knows his limitations after injuring the same ankle before the X Games last year.

And they’re still a lot higher and further than the competition.

He was the only skateboarder to successfully clear the 70-foot gap at last summer’s X Games, others opting to try the 50-foot jump.

About two years ago, Way inquired with the Chinese government about jumping the wall. Much to his surprise, he was given permission within 18 months.


“I just didn’t expect to be the kind of guy they would allow to come over there and jump over their sacred, historical landmark,” Way said. “Turned out to be the highlight of my career.”

Way had to generate speeds of 50 mph to clear the 61-foot gap. He was successful on all four jumps, performing 360-degree spins while in the air on the last three.

Way said the distance wasn’t as challenging as the hot, humid weather, his injury and the lack of familiarity with the ramp.

“They were the most challenging circumstances of my life,” he said.