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85-year-old woman in pursuit of 1,000 skydives crosses Niagara Falls off her list

YOUNGSTOWN, N.Y. (WIVB) — Kim Knor could be described as adventurous, brave and proof that age is nothing but a number.

Her biggest thrill-seeking passion, however, is tandem skydiving.

The 85-year-old has set out to complete 1,000 tandem skydives — a goal that started in 1959. This weekend, she added Niagara Falls to her list of jumps.

“I’ve been trying to get to 1,000 jumps since I started in 1959,” Knor said. “I’ve had many interruptions, raising a family, different things — life gets in the way.”

Now with more free time, she’s finishing what she started more than six decades ago.
On Saturday, Knor geared up to jump with the team at Skydive the Falls in Youngstown.

Knor has traveled all over the country and world to skydive, and she’s been looking forward to viewing Niagara Falls from a parachute.

“To see it from the sky, oh my gosh, it was really really exciting,” Knor said.

“It’s the thrill, it’s the rush, and then it’s the beauty of everything, looking at the world from a whole different perspective,” said Jason Berger, co-owner of Skydive the Falls.

Knor was a member of the first-ever U.S. women’s parachute team in 1962.

“Without Kim being the pioneer in the sport that she is, I would not become a tandem instructor,” said Jennifer Jones, a tandem skydive instructor. “This has been somewhat of a male-dominated sport. It requires a lot of upper body strength, and so women have had to really develop themselves into instructional positions, the gear has come a long way, but Kim has set the pace.”

Knor inspires people to continue chasing their dreams at any age, including Jones.

“Today I turned 62 and I’m one of the oldest female instructors in the world,” Jones said. “Kim and I’s aggregate age is 147, so I haven’t quit yet. I’m still pursuing the sport, I just hope I can last until 85.”

After this weekend, Knor is one jump closer to being awarded her gold wings for having made 1,000 skydives.

“Don’t close the doors and listen to people say, ‘Oh no, you’re not going to do that, that’s too scary or this is too this’ — you have to feel what’s inside you,” Knor said. “You see someone wearing the gold wings, it’s really significant. That’s what I want. I’ve got another 328 to go.”

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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