ACAPULCO, Mexico (Xinhua) – Iris Selene Alvarez, a Guinness Book of World Records holder, had to give up her beloved cliff diving after a severe back injury, however, she fortunately found her individual values at other areas, which have positive effect on other people.
Iris had been listed into the Guinness Book of World Records at the age of 12, as the youngest person to ever dive off the famous La Quebrada cliffs in Mexico’s famed Pacific coast resort of Acapulco.
At her home, the wall hung with a certificate of the world record in recognition of her intrepid 18-metre dive five years ago, now was covered with a range of medals and awards won in a different sport – martial arts.
She recalled that two years ago when she practised martial arts with some friends, she was flipped into the air then fell onto the floor.
Hospital tests showed that the fall had caused a severe back injury, which prevents her from returning to cliff diving, she said.
After a period of therapy, Iris enrolled in the National University of Pedagogy in Acapulco, hoping to gain a doctor degree in the future.
Though injured in practicing martial arts, she is not scared of the sport, but works now as a substitute teacher at a after-school martial arts class. Her charisma and leadership have won her fame among children.
Iris also has larger plans, such as promoting an initiative in her home state of Guerrero to develop athletically gifted children by providing them with programmes and facilities they need.
While cliff diving may not have been her ultimate calling, it did help shape her character and influence her life decisions. Her younger sister, who just turned 15, is already married, but Iris said her marriage will have to wait until “I achieve my personal goals.”
Though she cannot dive now, she still accompanies her father, also a cliff diver, and the others as they jump off the craggy mountain side into the churning waters below, cheering for them.
Children and youth, she said, should be encouraged to take part in more outdoor sports, and discouraged from spending too much time in front of a computer screen, as physical activity can really change a person’s life.