The life of Evel Knievel, the motorcyclist who entered Guinness for having the most broken bones

Evel knievel marked a high point in the history of entertainment not only in the United States, but in the entire world since on his motorcycle, this lover of danger Born in Montana, he tried life-threatening skills over and over again.

«I thought it was Elvis Presley, but all Elvis did was stand on stage and play a guitar. He never fell on the asphalt nor did he crash at 130 km per hour«, Evel Knievel once said to refer to his intimate relationship with the show understood as a way to put the body, and life, in danger.

Robert Craig Knievel, without a doubt, was the most famous motorcyclist for his prowess. He jumped over the fountains of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas and, at one of its highest points, He tried to cross the canyon of the Snake River before the eyes of the whole world.


Evel Knievel. He compared himself to Elvis Presley and said he was a better ShowMan. Photo / file

Evel Knievel: a man who loved to endanger his life

As a media character, Knievel sold himself as a man and a role model. He cunningly presented himself as an American hero. However, under that perfectly crafted image, Knievel fought all kinds of personal demons.

For years he fought his addiction to gambling and drinking And although he was married to his first wife, Linda, for 38 years, he made the most of his superstar status to sleep with every woman he could.

«I must have had sex with over 2,000 women«Knievel said in his memoirs where he detailed that» I once slept with eight ladies in 24 hours to win a bet. »

The failed attempt to Evel knievel from jumping the snake river canyon

Knievel tried to jump a cannon, but failed.  He did not kill himself by a miracle.  Photo / Archive

Knievel tried to jump a cannon, but failed. He did not kill himself by a miracle. Photo / Archive

On September 8, 1974, Knievel tried – and failed – Jump through the canyon of the Snake River on a jet motorcycle. The distance to be covered was 1.6 kilometers.

But it didn’t come out and it ended up crashing. Your drag parachute malfunctioned and opened on takeoff. Evel, and her specially designed bike floated to the bottom of the canyon, landing on the riverbank just below her launch ramp. And he was lucky because if he had entered the river, he would have drowned.

Survived by chance thanks to the hard work of the doctors.

«Evel Knievel was one of the biggest names on television in those years,» said sportswriter Leigh Montville, who closely investigated the motorcyclist in several of his risky adventures on top of a motorcycle.

Montville wrote the biography of the famous daredevil, entitled «Evel: The high-flying life of Evel Knievel, American showman, daredevil and legend «.

Montville recalls that there were only three television networks in Knievel’s time and that the motorcyclist appeared on televisions, » flying through it all, crashing and bouncing on the floor like a rag doll«.

After the disaster in the Snake River Canyon, he continued, in 1975, jumping 14 Greyhound buses at King’s Island amusement park in Ohio. That marked a peak audience that even the NFL games of those years could not reach.

One of Evel Knievel's worst landings.  Photo / Archive

One of Evel Knievel’s worst landings. Photo / Archive

The famous images referred to by Montville corresponded to one of the many stunts that ended in bludgeoningKnievel had tried to jump over the fountains at Caesar’s Palace casino in Las Vegas and crashed loudly, ending up in hospital for weeks.

Nevertheless that failure launched his career. «It became a kind of reality show that I couldn’t stop and drew the attention of millions of viewers because he was always on the brink of death«says Montville.

Evel knievel had a past as a shoplifter and gas station

Knievel made himself a hero, at least with his wardrobe, which was in the Captain America style with his red, white, and blue racing leathers. «It was the 60s and 70s, and there was an absence of heroes in America, and he was delighted to offer himself as a hero,» Montville recounted in the rider’s biography.

However, the Knievel, in his hometown of Butte, Montana, had been a petty thief who robbed stores and gas stations.

In fact, it was a Butte cop who allegedly nicknamed him «Evil» Knievel. He changed it to «Evel» when he started performing in public., because it seemed less evil.

Evel Knievel, in the hospital after one of her many falls.  Photo / Archive

Evel Knievel, in the hospital after one of her many falls. Photo / Archive

Montville says that Knievel was harsh with his partners and mistreated his wife. In the biography he quotes an acquaintance of Knievel who joked: «If Evel Knievel likes you, he will do anything for you. But if he doesn’t like you, he will do anything to you«.

Still, Knievel has an enduring place in American culture. Montville says this happens because «his antics appeal to all the recklessness that we all have. He could run alongside the risk. It was something liberating, in those years, to see someone without fear of things. «

Evel Knievel in the Guinness Book of Records

Knievel entered the Guinness Book Records byr have the most bones broken in a single year«For a while I thought I was bulletproof or Superman,» Knievel once said. He added, «I thought I’d never run out of nerve. Never.»

Something that finally happened.

Evel Knievel in 1989 during one of his participation in sporting events.

Evel Knievel in 1989 during one of his participation in sporting events.

Evel Knievel died in 2007 at the age of 69, his body battered and destroyed not only by his extreme stunt work, but also from the long-term effects of hepatitis C, which he contracted during one of his many blood transfusions caused by injuries from his accidents.