Roberta Mancino: Terra Incognita
The Italian athlete with a predilection for jumping out of planes and off of tall buildings explains her daredevil style of poetry in motion.
When Walt Whitman wrote in 1855 that he contained “multitudes,” he could have been predicting the ambitions and talents of present-day Italian athlete Roberta Mancino. An award-winning wingsuit pilot, skydiver, BASE jumper, kick boxer, free diver, and part-time model, Mancino’s vocations would be about as familiar to the great American bard as, say, shoeing a horse might be to nearly anyone today. But like Whitman, the multitudes of Roberta’s accomplishments embody a daredevil poetry of motion that the poet would most certainly have understood. Having began her career jumping into thin air only twelve years ago (after forcing a friend to take her skydiving), Mancino’s fast rise to the top of the almost monolithically male world of skydiving and BASE jumping is no small feat. She now holds three world records, a few European ones, and a number of other first place titles. And yet armed with sponsorships and deals with huge companies like GoPro and RedBull, the most inspiring thing about Mancino is still her continuing drive and joie de vivre about those gravity-defying leaps of faith that would make most knees knock. “Unfortunately, in every city I go to now, I feel like I'm sick,” she told us. “I look at all the buildings, and I would like to jump off all of them.” How cool is that?