Olympic skydiver dies in wingsuit mishap in Alps

  • Associated Press
  • Thursday, August 15, 2013 12:47pm
  • SportsSports

GENEVA — He wasn’t a competitor, but Mark Sutton still got one of the biggest cheers of the 2012 Olympics.

Sutton, who was killed during a wingsuit jump in the Alps this week, was the skydiver who parachuted into London’s Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremony dressed as James Bond, alongside another stuntman disguised as Queen Elizabeth II.

It was the punchline to a filmed sequence in which Daniel Craig’s Bond escorted the real queen from Buckingham Palace onto a helicopter — and, for many, the highlight of director Danny Boyle’s ceremony.

Swiss police confirmed that Sutton died Wednesday when he crashed into a rocky ridge near Trient in the southwestern Valais region. They gave his age as 42.

Wingsuits — aerodynamic jumpsuits that make wearers look like winged superheroes — allow fliers to jump from planes, helicopters and occasionally cliffs and soar long distances before opening parachutes to land.

Boyle on Thursday paid tribute to Sutton, saying he and fellow diver Gary Connery had “made the stadium gasp … and left indelible memories for people from all walks of life all over the world.”

“The show was built from so many contributions from so many people, none finer and braver than Mark Sutton,” Boyle said. “On behalf of everyone in the show we were all honored to have worked with him and to have known him as a friend and a professional. “

London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe said Sutton was “a consummate professional and team player” who would be widely missed.

Online extreme sports broadcaster Epic TV said Sutton was killed during a gathering it had organized involving 20 wingsuit pilots who were filmed as they jumped from helicopters. The firm said Sutton’s death was “a tragic loss for the global wingsuit community.”

The former British Army officer with the Gurkha Rifles who worked as a derivatives adviser was an accomplished skydiver. He performed at the Olympics alongside his friend Gary Connery. Sutton was the tuxedo-clad Bond, while Connery wore a pink dress and wig to play the queen.

Connery told The Sun newspaper that he had lost a friend who was “smart, articulate and funny.”

“In any sport where you share a common bond you can make friends in a heartbeat that last a lifetime,” he was quoted as saying. “My relationship with Mark was like that.”

Sutton was an experienced participant in the exhilarating but dangerous world of wingsuit jumping, and had worked with Connery on a bid to complete the first jump from an aircraft without a parachute. Sutton filmed Connery’s successful attempt in May 2012.

Valais police, who are investigating Sutton’s fatal accident, said crashed into a mountain ridge and fell to his death after jumping from a helicopter at 3,300 meters (10,800 feet)

Epic TV editor-in-chief Trey Cook said Sutton jumped with another diver who was wearing a camera, though the moment of impact had not been captured.

More in Sports

Archbishop Murphy’s Ray Pimentel, right, attempts a stiff arm on North Kitsap’s Kyle Green Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Snohomish on November 17, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Archbishop Murphy fends off North Kitsap in state matchup

Top-ranked Wildcats ride big plays, timely defense to beat Vikings 28-21 in football playoff. (Video)

Seahawks’ aging ‘Legion of Boom’ missing key parts

Richard Sherman returns to headquarters following season-ending surgery; Kam Chancellor likely out Monday.

Utah’s dynamic quarterback has UW’s attention

Sophomore Tyler Huntley will provide the Huskies with a big challenge with his ability to run and pass.

Virginia Tech routs Washington 103-79 in 2K Classic

Jaylen Nowell scores 21 points to lead the Huskies, which lost their second straight.

Vitelli’s 3rd-period goal lifts Silvertips past T-birds

The 16-year-old rookie breaks a 1-1 tie and Everett hangs on to beat rival Seattle 3-2.

King’s girls soccer to play for 1A state title

Katie Stella and Callie Wright scored for the Knights in the 2-0 win over Seattle Academy.

REFLECTIONS: A big night for milestones, streaks and goalies

The Game The Everett Silvertips started slowly. Very slowly. They had just… Continue reading

Members of the offensive line look over a play during practice Wednesday afternoon at Monroe High in Monroe on November 15, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
After historic win, Monroe football sets sights on Sumner

The Bearcats advanced to the quarterfinals after their first-ever state-playoff win last week.

Return of goalie Hart boosts Silvertips’ confidence

Everett has gone 3-1-0-1 since Hart returned to the lineup after an illness earlier this season.

Most Read