Prior to Britain’s Got Talent, the Ho Chi Minh City natives had already broken a Guinness World Record for their an unbelievable, gravity-defying stunt in 2016
Earning a spot amongst Britain’s Got Talent 2018 finalists is just the latest addition to the daredevil gymnasts Giang Brothers’ impressive resume.
Days after the show’s June 3 finale, Vietnamese across the country are still celebrating Giang Quoc Co and Giang Quoc Nghiep’s historic road to the finals of the British talent competition, despite the brothers’ falling short of a top three finish.
Their appearance in the finale marked the first time representatives from the Southeast Asian country have made it so far in the show, earning international recognition along the way for their extraordinary feats of strength and concentration.
According to Hanoi-based An Ninh Thu Do newspaper, the show’s organizers covered all expenses for the Giang Brothers to participate in the contest.
After their performance in the final night, they received 9.5 percent of the 2.5 million public votes submitted from viewers across the UK.
Through each stage of the competition, from the audition round to the grand finale, the acrobatic siblings wowed both the judges and audience with their incredible balance and muscular physiques.
Guinness World Record breakers and international winners
Prior to their appearance on Britain’s Got Talent, the pair earned fame in 2016 for breaking a Guinness World Record when they scaled the 90 steps leading up to the Cathedral of Girona in Spain in just 52 seconds with one sibling balanced atop the other using only head-to-head contact.
The picturesque cathedral is well-known for being featured in the popular TV series Game of Thrones.
The previous record for most stairs climbed while balancing a person on the head was achieved by Chinese duo Tang Tao and Su Zengxian, who climbed 25 consecutive steps in September 2014.
Due to a busy schedule, the Giang Brothers were only able to practice on the steps of the Cathedral of Girona once before the official challenge.
The Vietnamese brothers have since worked on a new version of their iconic performance, widely known as “Suc Manh Doi Tay” (The Strength of the Arms), with more challenging stunts and techniques they hope to use in future international competitions and festivals.
Their “Suc Manh Doi Tay” performance has so far won several local and international circus prizes, including the Grand Prix Award at the 10th International Circus Festival “Circuba 2011” in Havana, Cuba; three prizes at the 13th International Circus Festival in Italy including a silver medal and two minor titles awarded by internationally renowned circus groups - Monte Carlo Circus and Cirque du Soleil; and the Silver Lion Award at the 2011 13th Int’l Circus Festival in Hebei Province, China.
In November 2016, Co and Nghiep organized a circus art and contemporary dance performance at the Ho Chi Minh City Municipal Theater to celebrate their 15-year career.
The event also celebrated the tenth anniversary of the “Suc Manh Doi Tay” performance.
Live by the sword, die by the sword
Born into a circus family, Co and Nghiep grew up surrounded by the dangers of artists performing death-defying stunts.
For decades, they have been together as both brothers and co-workers bonded by their mutual passion for performing.
When they first entered the industry, the brothers would spend eight hours practicing each day.
Now, with years of experience under the belts, they are able to maintain their elite level with only four hours of practice each day.
Although they have performed in more than 30 countries and territories around the world, earning many local and international circus awards in the process, the two remain constantly vigilant against the dangers of their profession.
During a performance in Russia, elder brother Co’s neck became obstructed, preventing him from breathing. He tried to bear it until the act was completed, but his body suddenly collapsed onto the stage.
In a 2009 show in Taiwan, the duo was performing when Co tripped, causing Nghiep to fall onto the ground and lose consciousness.
Each incident has contributed to each brother’s degenerative spine condition.
Despite concerns for their health and life, the Giang Brothers refuse to give up on their passion.
“Sometimes we are set back by the difficulties and harsh practice involved in this career. But we urge ourselves to persevere. Step by step, we finally succeeded,” Co said during his latest interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“The glory must be paid with sweat, blood, and tears. If it’s too easy, it can’t be respected,” Nghiep said.
“We are happy with what we have done. We are where we are today thanks to circus.”