David Blaine breaks world record for holding breath (update: video)

David Blaine astonishingly broke the world record for breath holding today on Oprah. Suspended in the same sphere he used at Lincoln center two years ago for his week long stint underwater, he held out for 17 minutes and 4 seconds, a full 1/2 minute longer than the last record set less than three months ago by Swiss free diver Peter Colat.

Part of Blaine’s preparation for the stunt involved sleeping in a low-oxygen tent for a month. The tent replicates a high altitude environment and helps build red blood cells and increase oxygen transport throughout the body. He also went to the Caymen Islands and practiced free diving, which is where you swim deeply into the water without a mask. He helped his body to endure for so long without air by breathing pure oxygen for up to a half hour before he went underwater, which is allowed under Guinness rules.

The AP Reports that he told Oprah it was “A lifelong dream” after he emerged from the tank. He added: “I can’t believe I did that.”

Blaine became known for his on-the-spot magic tricks in his David Blaine: Street Magic show which aired 10 years ago on ABC. He has since moved on to public endurance feats including being suspended in a spinning sphere for two days in 2007, living in a water globe in Lincoln Center for a week in 2006, going without food in a Lucite box over the Thames River in London for 44 days in 2003, getting enclosed in a block of ice for three days in 2000, and buried in a coffin for a week in 1999. With this latest stunt he’s shown that he’s not just a masochist exhibitionist and that he really has the chops to break a very difficult world record.

I didn’t believe Blaine would be able to do this as he seemed to make it his mission just a few months ago, but he pulled through. As Ali G would say: “Respect.”

Here’s a quick video without sound. I’ll update the post with a better one that includes his remarks to Oprah as soon as it’s available. There are also two video blogs on YouTube which explain his preparation.

Update: Here’s the video of Blaine completing the challenge. His heart beat was raised throughout, and his doctor was worried that he wouldn’t be able to finish because he was using up more oxygen by not being able to lower his heart rate. Toward the end his heart rate slowed and started beating irregularly:

David Blaine is shown at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Redbelt premiere on 4/25/08, thanks to PRPhotos.

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18 Responses to “David Blaine breaks world record for holding breath (update: video)”

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  1. Larissa says:

    he is one of those ppl…that will die doing something astonishingly stupid!!!!!!
    like the brazilian flying priest, lol

  2. xiaoecho says:

    He’s cute!

  3. Mairead says:

    Any chance of him challenging the World Record for Buggering Off & Staying That Way? 😐

    It could be valid if we could encourage a few other tedious celebs to do the same? πŸ˜‰

  4. okay... says:

    I can think of more enjoyable ways to kill brain cells…

  5. Cici says:

    that dude. freakish.

  6. AC says:

    he frightens me. That stunt where he lived in the bubble and then tried to break the record for holding his breath was so terrifying. He was in such bad shape after living in the water that he couldn’t break the record and was in convulsions when he came out of the water it was so scary. UGG. Thats not entertainment! I kept changing the channel and flipping back to see if he had died but i just couldn’t watch…

  7. Mary Ann says:

    Do you mean the Cayman Islands? Not to nitpick, but my family is from there. πŸ™‚

  8. UrbanRube says:

    Yep, now he can die proud. What an achievement.


  9. Alexis says:

    and no one cares. Again, you forgot the rest of the headline.

  10. xiaoecho says:

    AC…he’s pretty open about the fact that he knows people watch expecting something terrible to go wrong. He said if people weren’t worried, he wouldn’t be doing his job, but I know what you mean

  11. ADD says:

    Mairead, ROFLMAO!!!

    AC, his previous stunt occurred a block from my home, I wandered by to get a gander of the schmuck who believed this was important enough to risk his life for.

    Even though he failed that one, he made a boatload of money, so it seems the equation is
    adrenalin + cash = Blaine validity.
    I guess his mother didn’t breastfeed him or something.

  12. bros says:

    i love this guy. he is so much cooler than mr. rapist copperfield and stupid jewelry addict taliban lookalike chris angel. david blaine is truly gifted. there is something other-worldly about him…im not into the occult or anything, but something about this guy is very believable. like the laws of gravity and matter dont apply to him. i love it. and the world needs more people like him.

  13. gg says:

    As usual, he looks thrilled to pieces to be there. I never saw such a depressed magician.

  14. I choose me says:

    πŸ˜† πŸ˜† At Mairead’s comment

  15. Allie says:

    He has dead eyes.

  16. Butch says:

    Completely fake. If you were under water for 17 minutes, wouldn’t your hair be a little more wet than that? The guys is an Illusionist, and a pretty good one at that, he even has Time magazine fooled.


  17. amber says:

    He is fine as fu@k!! πŸ˜†

  18. Born: 4 April 1973
    Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
    Best Known As: The magician who was buried alive in New York City
    Showman David Blaine’s original specialty was “street magic” — close-up magic done for small groups on New York City streets. His talent was showcased in a series of national TV specials in the late 1990s, with dramatic gasps from bystanders caught on camera. Soon Blaine was both a magician and a celebrity, known for his hipster style, uptown-casual clothes, and friendships with actors like actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Over time Blaine moved from small-scale stunts to much-publicized set pieces that were as much endurance tests as feats of legerdemain. Blaine was buried in a glass coffin for a week in a 1999 New York City stunt, and the next year he spent three days encased in a block of ice in Times Square. He stood atop a 90-foot pillar in New York’s Bryant Park for two days in 2002 before falling into a cushion of cardboard boxes. In 2003 he spent 44 days suspended in a glass box near the Thames River in London. He lounged in a water-filled glass sphere outside New York’s Lincoln Center for a week in May of 2006 in a stunt he called “Drowned Alive,” and in September 2008 he hung upside down in New York’s Central Park for 60 hours in a feat called “Dive of Death.”

    At the end of “Drowned Alive,” Blaine tried but failed to set a world record for holding one’s breath, while also attempting to escape from shackles at he bottom of his sphere. Divers pulled him from the water after seven minutes.