TODAY

TODAY   |  October 14, 2013

Female daredevil proves herself at ‘Ultimate Challenge’

New York BASE jumper Ellen Brennan proved that ladies can “fly just as well as the boys” as the only female participant in the “Ultimate Challenge.” Fourteen of the world’s top wingsuit fliers gathered in China to participate in a challenge of bravery and speed, a contest so extreme that one competitor died during practice rounds. NBC’s Ian Williams reports.

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>>> an american woman joined the raings ranks of the world's bravest daredevil. she put her reputation and life on the line.

>> reporter: it's been called the ultimate challenge. 14 wingsuit flyers prepare to hurl themselves off a chinese mountain to see who is fastest. an event so extreme one competitor died in practice. among five americans competing was a new yorker now living in france.

>> there's nothing in the world like this. really.

>> reporter: for her, an added cliff hanger , she's the only woman.

>> we really fly just as well as the boys, we fly just as fast as them.

>> reporter: then it was game on. launching themselves into the valley below. streaking across the sky like jet fighters , before deploying the parachutes that would bring them safely to ground. getting the launch right is vital. it takes a lot of concentration, a lot of skill, and an awful lot of nerve.

>> 3, 2, 1, smoke.

>> reporter: though her time fell short of a place in the finals, it was still one of her best.

>> i'm so happy right now.

>> reporter: she knows in this young, fast growing sport, there will be more adrenaline filled opportunities for women in the wingsuit. ian williams , china.