Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Winnipegger wants to be a spaceman

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ONE of Jamie Hall's most vivid memories growing up was sitting in front of the TV watching the launch of the space shuttle Discovery.

Since then, he's wanted to live on the edge and, somehow, get to space.

Well, a week after entering the Axe Apollo Space Academy Contest, Hall's feet are still planted firmly on the ground -- but things are looking up. Way up.

The Winnipegger began the contest in about 6,800th place in online voting but has rocketed up to 39th place as of Tuesday, after some serious canvassing on social media and in person.

At the end of the voting period in the fall, two Canadians will earn a spot in the finals at the Axe global space camp in Orlando, Fla., with one getting the chance to shoot into space.

"I'm a big fan of trying to do things, trying to go places, that you don't usually get to go," said Hall. "It makes you feel a little more alive."

Hall discovered the contest while at the movies with his fiancée. When he saw a commercial for an Axe grooming product with an astronaut out-shining a firefighter, he knew he had to participate.

"I used to be a volunteer firefighter, so when I saw the commercial I figured, 'Well I've already done the first one, I better do the next,' " he said.

When he isn't looking toward the stars, Hall is a media producer who went to school for business administration. He's already tried skydiving and bungee-diving.

Hall said he's become distracted with trying to get votes. On Tuesday he was canvassing the malls asking people to vote for him.

"I'm not really one to do things without going really hard," he said. "Even if I didn't win -- but I better win -- I'll know that I went pretty hard on the contest... it hasn't even entered my mind that I'm not going to win."

The voting closes in October with hundreds of new applicants entering every day, said an Axe company spokesman.

If Hall successfully makes the space camp, he'll undergo tests for mental and physical aptitude, and be judged on his dedication, enthusiasm and team spirit. Judges will then pick one of the two finalists to send to space on the X-COR Lynx sub-orbital space vehicle for a 60-minute flight.

Hall's fiancée, Lindsay Lachance, is a little skeptical about the whole thing, but will support him even if his mission falls short.

"It's unspoken," she said. "We both know that if we come to each other and want to do something, that we'll support other."

steph.crosier@freepress.mb.ca

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 27, 2013 B2

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