No one has more U.S. National and World gold medals for freefly skydiving than Mike Swanson. His four national titles and three world championships, multiple gold medals at the legendary Space Games, and other major triumphs have set him apart in a very elite group of athletes, and he has also co-organized and participated in five world records for freeflying head down in formation, including the mark of 69 people that was set in 2007 and still stands today.
Although born in Duluth, Minnesota (1973), Mike grew up in Vermont. "My father has run the Malone Parachute Club in Swanton since I was five," Mike says, "so I was there several days a week and grew up around skydiving. When my friends were at home playing baseball, I was at the drop zone." As a 16-year-old, Mike made his first solo skydive in New York, and two years later he took his first B.A.S.E. jump at West Virginia's epic New River Gorge. Since then, he's made more than 16,000 skydives, jumping from as high as 25,000 feet. "Skydiving, particularly freeflying, is definitely my focus, but I've competed in swoop competitions and am doing a lot more B.A.S.E. jumping than I used to," Mike comments. "My dream swoop would be the Lincoln Memorial."