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84-year-old skydiver lives her life above the clouds

Kim Emmons Knor made her first jump in 1959. Today, she's jumped more than 500 times and hopes to reach 1,000 soon.

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — For many, the thought of jumping out of a plane is a terrifying one.

But for Kim Emmons Knor, originally from Cadillac, in the sky is where she's the happiest.

"Did you ever lay on the ground and just watch birds flying around and watch how they stop and how they go and catch the wind currents? That's what I used to do," she says.

And now, at 84-years-old, Emmons Knor flies right next to those birds.

She was first exposed to skydiving when she was just five-years-old by her uncle, who trained to jump from planes during World War II.

"He stayed in my room, I wrapped in his parachute for two weeks, and slept in the closet in his parachute," she recalls.

Fascinated by the idea, 15 years later, she had the chance to do it herself.

"December 13, 1959, finally made my first jump," says Emmons Knor.

Instantly, she fell in love.

"It was a long wait, but it was fun," she says. "It was worth it."

Since then, she's racked up more than 550 jumps, a number she'll tell you isn't very many.

Plenty of those were in competitions, like the World Championship in 1962.

"I was on the first U.S. women's team and we won the gold," says Emmons Knor.

Representing her country is an honor she proudly carries with her 60 years later.

"Standing under the American flag, and hearing that national anthem, it's a big deal," she says.

But today, she has one achievement she still hopes to reach.

"A thousand jumps," says Emmons Knor.

With around 400 more to go, she added three to her total at Skydive Grand Haven over the weekend. She first jumped in Grand Haven back in 1963.

"You can see the lake and it's just glorious," she says.

A glorious sight that her younger self, staring up at the clouds, would have loved.

"I don't have to watch the birds anymore," she says.

Emmons Knor hopes other people follow her footsteps in skydiving. If you want to feel the adrenaline rush that she loves so much, Skydive Grand Haven is open throughout the summer.

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