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Dodge Morgan and The 10 Most Daring Athletes Ever

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2010

Dodge Morgan and The 10 Most Daring Athletes Ever

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    Dodge Morgan, the first American to sail around the globe non-stop, died last week after a battle with cancer.

    He was 78 years old.

    Morgan gained fame in 1986 when he successfully navigated the globe by himself without stopping, doing it in record time.

    His love for challenges and zest for life made him a compelling figure in American society, and made him one of the most courageous and unique athletes ever to live.

    Here's a closer look at 10 daring athletes who have tackled amazing feats without turning back.

No. 10: Pat Bertoletti Eats 10 Pounds of Key Lime Pie In Eight Minutes

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    While Joey Chesnut and Kobayashi get most of the love when it comes to competitive eating, the feat of Pat Bertolletti in 2006 certainly deserves some attention.

    Bertoletti set a world record when he downed a whopping 10.8 pounds of Key Lime Pie in a competition in 2006.

    Talk about a having a sweet tooth...

No. 9: Wim Hof Swims Way Below The Ice

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    Imagine swimming in water below the ice for 57 meters while wearing nothing but swimming trunks.

    That was nothing for Holland's Wim Hof, who has tackled numerous frigid challenges to work his way into the Gunniess Book of World Records.

No. 8: David Smith Sr. The Human Cannonball

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    Smith currently holds the world-record for highest launch as a human cannonball at 185 feet.

    He has been launched into the air over 5,000 times around the world, including this jump over the Mexican-United States border in 2005.

No. 7: Matthew Webb Swims The English Channel

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    Webb is the first known individual to cross the English Channel, a feat he accomplished in 1875.

    His first attempt failed due to rough seas, but he tried again and succeeded.  His journey covered 39 miles and took just under 22 hours.

No. 6: Tony Hawk Gets Big Air

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    Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

    Tony Hawk's legendary 900 helped usher in the action sports craze and opened the door for competitors to defy gravity every year in the X Games.

    Hawk brought attention to the unique sport and managed to create a brand for himself that still survives, nearly 20 years after he broke off his famous feat.

No. 5: Laura Dekker

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    It took a while to get the green light, but 14-year-old Laura Dekker embarked on an attempt to sail the globe solo in August.

    Dekker set sail amid secrecy as she attempts to remain out of the media spotlight along her journey, which if successful is expected to take around a year to complete.

    She has already failed on one attempt, and was feared lost at sea again in late August before being found by authorities.

No. 4: Dodge Morgan Sails Around The World

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    Dodge Morgan not only sailed around the world by himself, he did it in record time.

    Needless to say, Morgan's attempt to break Chay Blyth's world record of sailing around the world in 292 days was successful.

    The Maine native made the journey in an astounding days.

No. 3: Sir Edmund Hillary Climbs Mount Everest

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    Hillary was the first known individual to reach the summit of Mount Everest, when he and fellow climber Tenzing Norgay scaled the mountain after an exhausting climb.

    Hillary received instant fame for his accomplishments.  He was Knighted and interestingly remains the only New Zealand native to appear on the country's currency while still alive.

No. 2: Robbie Knievel Follows In His Dad's Footsteps

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    Robbie Knievel has captivated spectators with his high-flying feats.

    Among his many accomplishments, Robbie leaped 24 Coke Zero trucks in 2008 in Ohio, paying tribute to his father's feat of jumping 14 Greyhound buses years earlier.

    He also managed to fulfill his dad's lifelong dream of jumping the Grand Canyon.

No. 1: Evel Knievel Tries to Jump Snake River Canyon

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    It didn't work, but the effort behind Evel Knievel's jump was certainly admirable.

    The Bob Arum-promoted event became a pay per-view event and ended unsuccessfully when Knievel's sky-rocket failed to reach the other side of the canyon.

    The ultimate daredevil, Knievel broke 37 bones during his career and failed at almost as many jumps as he succeeded at, including the Caesar's Palace crash on New Year's Eve in 1967.

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