(Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool)
When Nicole Oetl's boyfriend says he's going to work, he means he's floating 24 miles above the earth, and then jumping down. It's not a relationship for the faint of heart.
Felix Baumgartner's historical jump
On Sunday afternoon, when Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier with his record-setting jump, scientists, engineers and fans rooted for the former military parachutist. But girlfriend Nicole Oetl just wanted him to survive.
"I'll be relieved when Felix is [standing] before us," she told the crowd of media gathered in Roswell, New Mexico to watch the 43-year-old Austrian skydiver make history.
As the fastest human to skydive from the highest altitude, after his 128,097-foot free-fall, Baumgartner has a lot to be thankful for. Topping the list is his 30-year-old girlfriend, who wiped away tears as she watched her boyfriend's descent from a camera alongside his parents.
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Oetl is a gymnast turned gymnastics instructor based in Linz, Austria. She's been with the record-breaking daredevil and pilot for at least two years, and in that time has watched him fly through and fall from the sky with some regularity.
Some of his accomplishments include jumping off the world's tallest building and skydiving across the English Channel. But this mission, which involved free-falling 23 miles, was his most dangerous.
It also may have brought the couple closer together. After his mission, Baumgartner claims to want to settle down with Oetl in the U.S. and in Austria, and just pilot rescue missions, you know, like a normal boyfriend.
Nicole with Felix's mom and mentor Col. Kittinger. (Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool)
But there's no going back to normalcy after Sunday night. Aside from capturing the attention of the more than a million viewers who tuned in to watch the fall, he's become a heartthrob in record time. One of the popular questions trending on Twitter was whether Baumgartner has a girlfriend.
Little is known about the couple's initial courtship, but Oetl appears to be a solid match for the skydiver. She's an athlete herself, and she doesn't seem to shy away from heights. She's accompanied Baumgartner in helicopters to high-altitude skydiving conventions and supported him during the months of training in preparation for the Stratos jump.
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Baumgartner seems to pull his weight too. He wrote on his personal blog about a special visit he paid in 2010 to the young gymnastic team she coaches offering a little star power and inspiration.
After Sunday, however, he's off-duty for a bit. His rep told media on Monday he's skipping interviews and taking the day to rest. Maybe he's planning a follow-up to his pre-jump vacation. Two months ago, Baumgartner posted to his Facebook page an album of photos called "Weekend Getaway with my Girlfriend Nici." If there was any question about his relationship status, the handful of romantic images he posted said it all. In the not-so-extreme images, Oetl and Baumgartner are toasting in swimsuits, riding on a boat, and doing dock headstands just like any other couple in love.
Of the album, Baumgartner writes: "lake, boat, beer and girlfriend! Wonder what you guy's have done on your weekend. Guess pretty much the same?"
Maybe. But most of us weren't preparing to fall from the sky a few months later.