As a world traveler and aficionado of extreme sports, Marco-Abel Nordio was excited to have the chance to participate in a skydiving exercise on one of his recent trips to Florida.
Skydiving is believed to have its roots in ancient China. An anecdote recounts the tale of Emperor Shun and his escape from assassins by jumping from the top of a burning grain tower and using a device constructed of straw hats to reduce his rate of speed and to arrive safely on the ground. Later devices resembled sturdy umbrellas and were used in acrobatic exhibitions across Asia. The first rudimentary parachutes were most likely invented as part of these exhibitions and were used in demonstrations before the Chinese Imperial Court in the 15th and 16th centuries. The first known use of parachutes in Europe was documented in France in the 1680s during the monarchy of Louis XIV. With the advent of hot air balloons, skydiving became a more common activity throughout Europe.
Modern skydiving equipment offers much more protection for divers and is generally constructed of advanced materials with greater durability and a lower risk of failure. Many important developments in parachuting equipment were the result of wartime paratrooper activities and the increased demand for flexible and controllable skydiving equipment to deliver military forces to battlegrounds in contested areas.
Skydiving as a sport became increasingly popular after World War II. Parachuting clubs were often able to obtain needed equipment from military surpluses at a significant discount over the regular prices for these items. Many skydiving clubs offer tandem jumps under the supervision of a trained instructor. These special offers can inspire individuals like Marco-Abel Nordio to take on the challenges of parachuting on a one-time or continuing basis.