There’s one video that lingers in my head when I think of Omar Alhegelan, a freeflying and freestyle pioneer in skydiving.
Omar was already well known when I first met him and he was one of many whom I looked up to in the sport – especially because he wasn’t a flyer in just one discipline. What stood out to me about Omar was his passion for possibilities in skydiving, and his kindness towards others. Today, I feel incredibly fortunate to call Omar my friend, and what an honor to sit down to get to connect with him and learn more about his story. – Melissa Lowe
Omar considers himself a “Citizen of the World,” and it was the 1979 James Bond movie, “Moonraker” performed by skydiving stunt pioneers, BJ Worth and Jake Lombard that first sparked the skydiving interest.
“The movie was released when I was 13 years old and it was the first time that I realized that you could actually fly and not just fall while skydiving,” Omar shared. However, it wasn’t until fourteen years later, when he went to get his haircut by his friend Jean-Luc. Omar shares their conversation:
He said to me, “I’m going to do an AFF tomorrow!”
“What is an AFF?” I replied.
“Its an Accelerated Free Fall course,” he explained.
“No you’re not” I said, “We ARE!!!”
“Then I graduated the course in five jumps instead of 8 after I asked the instructor to merge the levels together,” Omar said with a confident smile. And it was after that first jump he made the decision that skydiving was going to be his career.
“I will always remember landing on my ass after my first jump, throwing my hands in the air & yelling from the top of my lungs: I was born to do this!!!!” Omar said. Omar quickly gained his skills and became one of the early pioneers in freestyle and freefly skydiving and was the first FAI Champion in freestyle skydiving.
in the sport through the years, and from competition and coaching, he moved to Dubai and later, became part of the Everest Skydiving team [ESD] and Jump Like a Pharaoh events. He shared some of his favorite memories from each event.
“On the last trip to ESD I had the honor & the privilege to do a freefly jump with Al Hodgson over the Himalayas. I have known Al and Pixie for many years & have jumped with them on several continents… but to share the skies with a double amputee as we exited a B3 Helicopter at 25,000 ft with oxygen, & flying head down & carving, was one of the most surreal jumps of my life. He is a true inspiration, someone I’ve looked up to for many years.”
Then he spoke about an emotional moment in Egypt, “Nothing I’ve ever done could have possibly prepared me for the emotions I had on my first jump over the Pyramids. The blessing, the gratitude, the overwhelming “Energy” & emotions associated with jumping over one of the 7 wonders of the world hit me all at once as I ascended from 15,000ft having exited from a C-130 military transport aircraft. As I landed between 2 of the 3 main Pyramids, I could not stop smiling… I could have never in my past 25+ years of jumping, at the time, imagined that such a jump could be possible.” He summed it up by saying, #BillionaireInExperiences.
Omar is such a humble man and has always had his eyes looking out to help inspire and progress in the sport. When I asked him what his greatest accomplishments were, he smiled and started by saying that he is blessed to have been at the right place at the right time being associated with a group of extremely talented individuals who were at the forefront of freefly skydiving. He is also the first FAI Freestyle World Cup, World, and World Air Games AND World Games Freestyle Champion. He’s also had the privilege of jumping over all seven continents and the geographic North Pole. He was also the first to lead an expedition and skydive over the Union Glacier in Antarctica, partook in the first three head down world records, and coached hundreds of students, amongst which one became a freestyle World Champion and two Freefly World Champions.
Photo credits from left to right: Omar Alhegelan, Marco Grili, Everest Skydiving Team, Brian Erler, Adam Ungar
someone as busy as Omar would be too busy to enjoy other things outside of skydiving. However, he’s well rounded – balanced some may say. On the top of Omar’s list of things beyond skydiving is being a parent. He also does Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, photography, wake surfing, and barefoot water skiing.
And as he shared in his interview with me, he was recently appointed as the President of the Saudi Arabian Extreme Sports Federation. He said, “I look forward to developing skydiving in the Kingdom and assisting the Saudi champions of tomorrow to achieve their goals.” He’s also still an active Everest Skydive team member and looks forward to doing HALO jumps every year over Syangboche, Nepal, and in his words, “landing at the world’s highest landing zone along with my colleagues Tom Noonan, PH, Nadia, Anton, Wendy Smith and the rest of the amazing ESD family.” Omar is also still a consultant for Skydive Egypt and their Jump Like A Pharaoh events – which there up and coming event is this November.
He added, “I also still coach freeflying. I simply can not get enough of students’ facial expressions as they learn a new skill…my guilty pleasure.”
Omar most likely would not call himself a legend, so I’ll do it for him – Omar is a legend. He is a true pioneer in the sport of skydiving and we are so fortunate to have him in this sport and on the CYPRES team. And if you know Omar or are getting to know him, you’ll learn he’s equally as passionate and attentive to his family and daughter. I close this interview with another favorite video I have of Omar – him working with his incredible daughter, Dunia, who herself, become a legend in her own right.
To learn more about Omar, you can find him on a Google search or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/freeflyomar/ or Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Abudunia420/