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Acrobatic Giang Brothers Shatter Guinness World Record in Stair-Climbing

Next step: finding a practical application.

Vietnam's famous acrobat brothers, Giang Quốc Cơ and Giang Quốc Nghiệp, set a Guinness world record in Spain on Thursday by climbing 100 stairs in 53 seconds with Nghiệp, who is32 years old, upside down, balancing his head atop the head of his 37-year-old brother. The pair braved cold and icy conditions, lingering injuries and COVID-19-related lack of practice time to do what no pair had ever done before, much to the thrill of gathered fans from Spain and Vietnam. 

Video via Sputnik Việt Nam YouTube.

The Circus Arts Foundation invited the pair in November, but because social distancing had resulted in them not having practiced together for months, they originally did not think they would do it. Yet, Cơ explains: "It is a rare chance which could be once in lifetime, so we didn't want to miss it. It is another opportunity to shine, for us, and for Vietnam. So we decided to take the challenge."

To prepare for the absurd act of balance and physical precision, the pair known globally as the Giang Brothers practiced for up to six hours a day. Saint Mary's Cathedral in Girona, Spain went so far as to add 10 steps to their entrance to allow for the record attempt. Cơ explained to VnExpress: "The new steps [had] a different height and material compared to the 90 existing ones. We did not have the chance to practice on these 10 steps in advance."

Their previous record of 90 steps in 50 seconds was set on December 22, 2016 at the Cathedral of Girona in Catalonia, Spain. Before that, the record had been set at a distant 25 steps by a Chinese duo. However, in 2018, Peruvian acrobats Pablo Nonato Panduro and Joel Yaicate Saavedra climbed 91 stairs to snag the record

Two years after their first record-setting feat, the brothers' fame increased thanks to a judge-wowing turn on Britain's Got Talent after over a decade of domination in the local circus scene and contests abroad. At Britain's Got Talent, they performed their balancing act blindfolded and on wobbling steps, securing them a finish in the top five.

As with most daredevil acts, the brothers face serious risks. Nghiệp says: "Doctors said next time I fall, I could break my neck. I sometimes thought that I could not continue any longer. However, circus is our passion and we set high targets. We have to live with injuries and pain while overcoming fear and danger. To be successful everyone must try hard, sacrifice and try our best. I want to prove to everyone in the world that human possibilities are endless."

[Top photo via Thanh Nien]

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