The Giang Brothers had known smashing a Guinness World Record for head-to-head stair-climbing was within their reach, so the real goal of their jaw-dropping performance in Spain last week was to surpass their own limit.
Giang Quoc Co and his younger brother Giang Quoc Nghiep broke a Guinness record on Thursday by climbing the picturesque steps of the Cathedral of Girona with one sibling balanced atop the other using only head-to-head contact.
The cathedral is well-known for its appearances in the popular TV series Game of Thrones.
The Vietnamese, known globally as the Giang Brothers, managed to break the record by scaling 90 stairs in 52 seconds, breaking that set by Chinese duo Tang Tao and Su Zengxian, who climbed 25 consecutive stairs in a minute using the same technique in September 2014.
While they remain in Spain to continue their Europe tour, Co, 32, and Nghiep, 27, spent time talking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper over the phone about the story behind the record-smashing feat that wowed fans both in Vietnam and around the world.
Proud to say, ‘We are Vietnamese’
The brothers revealed to Tuoi Tre that they are on a France-Spain-Germany tour between November 28 and February 6 and initially had no intention of setting a Guinness record.
“We only accepted the challenge thanks to a suggestion by a Spanish circus house director, who saw us climb the stairs with that head-to-head technique,” the older brother said.
Due to a busy schedule, the Giang Brothers managed to practice on the steps of the Cathedral of Girona only once before the official performance on December 22.
“I carried Nghiep on my head and gave it a shot,” Co said. “I almost lost my breath at the 33rd step but was able to continue 20 more steps.”
At the 53rd step, Co said he could hardly move his legs anymore, “but I told myself this is the last chance so I tried to finish the last steps and we did it eventually.”
In the end, Co had to carry his older brother down the steps as Nghiep was really exhausted.
“This did not happen after the real performance as we had time to take a rest after overcoming the challenge,” Co said.
The brothers said they were confident that they could smash the record of the Chinese duo, and “the real challenge was whether we could transcend our own limit.”
“After the challenge, we were so proud to say, ‘We are Vietnamese,’ in front of the foreign press,” the older brother said.
Co noted that they had only smashed the record, and work is still being done to officially recognize them as the World Guinness Record holders.
The Giang Brothers, among Vietnam’s most renowned circus artists, are known for their internationally award-winning performance “Suc Manh Doi Tay” (The Strength of the Arms), in which they perform various technically-demanding stunts using their arms and hands.
The brothers said they are working on a new version of “Suc Manh Doi Tay,” with more challenging stunts and techniques to continue to compete at international competitions and festivals.
“We are attached to circus and The Strength of the Arms until we are completely unable to continue,” Co underlined.