But for Banks 60 feet will just be another opportunity to grab. "It's not going to be impossible to explain," he says. "It's not going to come as a great shock to the world. Til be jumping in the 58s first, then 59s, then 60. It'll be just a logical progression."
As for the secret, Banks is still looking. After he watched Mikhail Baryshnikov perform his "helicopter" on TV, he wrote Baryshnikov and suggested an exchange of training methods. "If I could hold my position in the air for as long as he does, I know I could go 60 feet," says Banks, who's still awaiting a reply.
First in line, however, is the goal of surpassing Oliveira's world record. The secret to that. Banks feels, isn't so much high altitude as the following ingredients: an inspiring competition ("like Dokie and Chip—they always turn me on"); a partisan crowd ("including my family, all fired up to help me"); a hot afternoon; a favorite pit. All those elements will be there next Sunday at the Pepsi Invitational at UCLA—plus the taped inspiration of Funkadelic. It would be wise to tune in.