Briton's 'most epic selfie ever' on top Rio's Jesus statue goes viral

  • People
  • Wednesday, 04 Jun 2014

A heart-stopping, stomach-churning selfie taken atop Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue has gone viral for its vertigo and awe-inducing vantage point.

It's being described as perhaps the most epic selfie ever, and for good reason: With the permission of Brazil's tourism board, Briton Lee Thompson climbed to the top of the country's most iconic monument and snapped an arm's length selfie of himself that reveals the scale of the statue's height above sea level.

What makes the photo even more impressive is the illusion that Thompson is standing precariously unanchored on top of the statue. In reality, he's simply popped out from the stairs that take workers to the top of the statue's head.

"When I arrived at the foot of the statue and saw the platform awash with a sea of tourists, the gravity of what I was about to experience hit me and the butterflies in my stomach went nuts," he wrote in a blog post on his website, a travel company that he heads.

Thompson added: "As I popped my head out of the hole in Jesus' crown, I was in total and utter awe as my eyes met with a vast panorama that quite literally took my breath away." Others who saw his selfie were similarly awed — posted on May 29, it has since been shared more than 11,600 times by June 3. 

Top of the world: Thompson, elated to be on top of the statue's head, calling the experience and the ensuing selfie a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

Thompson, who's also a photographer, is in Brazil to document preparations for the World Cup and convinced the tourism board to let him climb to the top of the statue — which stands 38m tall on top of the 700m Corcovado mountain that towers over Rio — to view ongoing repair works. In January, a severe lightning storm chipped off the statue's thumb.

"To some, taking pictures of yourself is considered vain, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taught me that the selfie is a powerful medium through which we can share our perspectives, inspirations and personal stories with the world at large," he wrote. 

"It's not about funny mugshots with scenic backdrops or daredevil stunts. It's a way to mark the moment and say, 'I was here'." You were definitely there, Lee Thompson, you were definitely there. Check out the video below to see the moment Thompson emerging from the statue's head. — AFP/RelaxNews

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