in People

Anastasis Polycarpou — a bird’s-eye view of life

Being a unique athlete with a balanced body and mind way of training, he represents the Republic of Cyprus during all International competitions in air sports, breaks world’s record in skydiving, helps other athletes in finding their concentration point and adores his family.

Tasos, what differs you from the other athletes right now?

I’m not a professional skydiver. Actually I’m the only one non-professional that is on the world’s top list among professionals. I just enjoy the process. One of the reason why I came to the top is that I tried different trainings for my mind and body to reach the most success.

Do you pass on your way of training to others?

I’m training athletes a lot right now. Especially the psychology part of the training. When an athlete reaches the top, it influences his body so much but he still needs a lot of concentration to have a clear brain. I give athletes something through my trainings but they give me much more.

I have my job that brings me income and allows me to enjoy the sports. I’m working hard to live in balance. The same time I’m trying to manage my family, my job and sports. Frankly speaking, my family pushes me to do more and more.

Did your wife try skydiving?

Yes. It was about 9 years ago. She liked it and actually I proposed to her in the sky for the third time. That was my way of combining my love with the skies. But since we have our girls, I’m the only one who is still skydiving.

Is skydiving dangerous?

I do base jumping and skydiving. Both are very important to me but base jumping is a way of my relaxation and meditation and skydiving is much more bigger. These sports can be very dangerous especially when athletes push themselves to the limits. However, skydiving is one of the most safest sports in the world because you have a parachute that secures you. Base jumping, on the other hand, is more dangerous as you jump from the cliff and you have to be so concentrated during the jump to avoid any mistakes that could result in an accident. Doing both sports you have to reach that level of concentration when you don’t think and your brain is silent. You forget about everything and jump.

Do you remember the place where you jumped for the first time from the plane?

Of course, it was in Spain. The first one is always easy as you don’t understand what’s going on and you miss a lot of details as you don’t know where to look for them and what to notice. The second one is more interesting and as you get more experienced you realise what is the danger of this sport and you start to scare more and more. The most dangerous period for skydivers is between 400 and 800 jumps. They start to feel super confident about the process and here they can miss concentration. They try to push their limits without an experience that’s why you should be more careful during this period.

How many jumps have you performed?

I made around 3000 skydiving jumps and 300 base jumps. From the day I put my wingsuit on I never take it off. Probably, if I skydive without it, I will be scared (smiles). You feel more comfortable with the wings and it makes you more confident. The flying time in the wingsuit is much more shorter so the speed is higher but it’s better and more interesting if you control the gusts of wind. You literally fly your body. The suit design is based on the laws of aerodynamics.

Who designs the wingsuits?

We work with special factories that produce sports gear. These are big companies that have a lot of orders as skydiving community is really huge — a few millions of athletes all over the world. I represent one of such factories in the US and giving them all my measures I get a custom tailored wingsuit.

What about your World’s record. Did you aim to break the record?

I didn’t even plan to be included in the World’s Record Book. World Air Sports Federation (FAI), is one of the largest federations in the world, has all the records reported. Probably, I will have another one record reported next year — my speed during the skydiving.

The plane drops us at 4000 ft, the competition starts between 3000 and 2000 ft. Here we have three types of competition: how long will you stay in this area, for what distance can you go within this height and how fast will you beat this window. As for my record, I flew for 5,1392 km distance in this window. I remember that jump very well as I totally enjoyed that moment. I flew so far that the team had to pick me up when I landed with a parachute. One of the reason of my win is that I was very relaxed and concentrated on ‘here and now’ moment.

What are you thoughts during the jump?

That is the trick. Your mind should be totally clear — you can not think about hunger or your family, or everyday routine. You should only listen to altimeter that beeps every second and calculate the data to know when to speed up or when to open the parachute. Spend those 2-3 minutes concentrating on what you are doing.

Are you going to train your daughters to be skydivers?

I have brought girls many times to competitions as they are a part of me and I think it’s better when they feel involvement. The next year my elder daughter will be of the age when she can try skydiving. But I will not push them anyway. I think the sports that we have in everyday life is more important. You have to be always prepared, trained and has fast brain.

Tasos, you have skydived in many countries. Please, name three countries that are the most beautiful from up above?

Greece, Italy and Spain. Greece was beautiful with all its green areas, sea and mountains. Italy amazed me because I managed to skydive through the cities and saw the urban landscapes. And I will never forget the spanish views as I made I first jump there.