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Russian base jumper's world record claims shattered

By Molly Gray, for CNN
updated 6:18 AM EDT, Thu June 7, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Red Bull has reversed course on calling Valery Rozov's jump world-record breaking
  • The Russian base jumper recently plunged from a 6,420 meter peak in the Himalayas
  • Current record holders, Heather Swan and Glenn Singleman, disputed the claim
  • Their jump, in 2006, was from 6,604 meters up Mount Meru in the Himalayas

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A day after claiming that Russian extreme sports star Valery Rozov had broken the world record for highest base jump, Red Bull, the jumper's sponsor, has reversed course and is now calling the jump another "highlight in Rozov's incredible career."

Rozov leapt from an eye-watering 6,420 meters (just over 21,000 feet) on May 25 from Shivling in the Indian Himalayas.

On Wednesday, Red Bull released a statement saying that the jump had broken the world record and news organizations across the world picked up the story.

Just one problem. His jump hadn't broken the record.

According to Guinness World Records, the highest base jump ever completed was in 2006 by the husband and wife team of Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan, when they jumped from 6,604 meters (nearly 21,666 feet) up Mount Meru, also in the Indian Himalayas.

The couple was shocked when a friend called and told them the news, Swan said. Especially when they read how high Rozov had jumped.

"We were miffed," Swan told CNN Thursday. "Their claims are just plain wrong."

She added that even if Rozov had jumped off the very peak of Shivling -- a staggering 6,543 meters -- he couldn't have broken the record.

When CNN reached out to Rozov, who is also famous for jumping into a live volcano in Russia and off Ulvetanna Peak in the Antarctic, he said the claims had all been a misunderstanding.

"I don't care if it is a record, or if it is not a record," he said.

Red Bull has since taken down their statement and now describes Rozov's jump as a "breathtaking feat" to add to his so-far "incredible career."

Base jumping is an extreme sport in which participants leap from fixed objects with nothing more than a parachute between themselves and the earth.

Jumpers often wear "wingsuits" that, with arms extended, create additional surface area for gliding through the air. Wearing these suits allows jumpers to soar for longer periods of time before opening their parachutes.

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