Monday, July 23, 2007
Alumnus sets Guinness record for balloon shaping
|Chris Linn broke the previous world record for creating a balloon dog behind his back in 5.94 seconds. Photo courtesy of Chris Linn|
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
While in high school, Chris Linn, SBA ’98, learned to make balloon animals. More specifically, he learned to make a balloon into the shape of a dog. This skill helped him work his way through college and earlier this year it earned Linn a second entry in the “Guinness Book of World Records.” Linn broke the previous world record for creating a balloon dog behind his back in 5.94 seconds.
This was the second time Linn, a comedian, magician and balloon artist, set out to break a world record. In 1995, he set the world record for the speed at which he could throw playing cards.
“I really liked the challenge leading up to that,” Linn said, so he started researching other records he could potentially break when he saw the one for creating a balloon dog behind his back. “I wasn’t sure I could do it behind my back. The first couple of months were kind of a disaster. It was taking me 30 second to complete a dog.”
But after much training, Linn was ready to officially compete. After submitting an application to break the record, Linn was presented with nearly three pages worth of guidelines for breaking the record including the size and proportion the balloon dog must be.
The record-breaking feat must be videotaped and the challenge must provide a lot of evidence of the feat, including independent witnesses. Linn decided to attempt to break the record in front of Rochester City Hall, with the mayor and plenty of witnesses present.
“Even I was surprised when they told me my time was 5.94 seconds. That was almost a full second off my normal pace,” Linn said.
The previous record was 7.47 seconds held by a man in Zilwaukee, Mich.
Linn started doing magic when he was five years old. He added comedy to his performance to keep the routine more entertaining. Linn developed his craft throughout high school and college. He attended Oakland University in part to stay in the same area as the client base he had established. Linn studied marketing.
“The business end of show business is actually more important than the show. I like creating my own advertising material. I developed and run my own Web site. I really enjoy handling the business end of it as well. There are a lot of creative outlets available,” Linn said.
Now, Linn performs around the country and for many cruise lines. In his spare time, he’s looking for more records to break.
“I’m definitely looking for other records that I can break. I haven’t really decided what I will do next,” Linn said. “There is a record for distance for throwing playing cards. I might start working toward that one.”