By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) — Nick Batsch is no ordinary skydiver.
“If I was flying my parachute on the highway, I’d get pulled over,” he said.
In fact, Batsch is the reigning World Champion Canopy Pilot. As part of the US Parachute Team, Batsch jumps out of perfectly good airplanes around the globe, showing off his high-flying skills during speed, distance and accuracy competitions.
“It’s pretty much throwing your body at the ground at 100 mph and then, at the last second, pulling out from that dive without hitting the earth and going as fast or as far as you can,” he explained.
One look inside his trophy case at his Aurora home and it’s easy to see that Batsch takes the aerial sport to new heights.
“There are 97 medals in there, 33 of which are world championship titled medals,” he said.
Batsch just added another award to his collection after defending his title at the World Canopy Parachuting Championships in Poland earlier this month. The 36-year-old never expected the achievement when he first went skydiving at 19.
“I fell in love with it,” Batsch told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “I love the rush. I knew as soon as I came down this is something I want to do again. Within six months I was an expert skydiver and then I became part of the US team and it’s just an honor to go out there and kick butt for the US.”
After more than a decade as a professional canopy pilot, Batsch said he is considering retirement and looking forward to starting a family with his new wife.
“A lot of people have gotten very injured or unfortunately met their death doing what I do for a living because it is dangerous,” he said.
But right now, the extraordinary Colorado athlete isn’t letting fear get in his way.
“I’m more afraid of letting the other guy win than of what could happen if I get hurt,” he said.
Broncos fans will see Batsch in action later this year. He will rejoin the team of skydivers who land on the field at Mile High Stadium before home games this upcoming season.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.