Kiwi is the Fastest Tap Dancer on Earth-- Again!
New Zealand's Tony Adams has joined a select group of two times holders of a Guinness World Record by reclaiming his place as the fastest tap dancer in the world.
From a standing start, the Wellington-based share broker and motivational speaker hit the floor with a staggering 17.6 taps per second on average for the 60-second time period peaking at a mind-boggling 23 taps a second.
His total of 1,056 taps in the minute smashes the previous record of 784 set in the United Kingdom in April this year.
Tony's previous Guinness World Record of 610 beats set in August 2008 was beaten when Sky TV UK staged a ˜dance-off" on its show Guinness World Records Smashed following an extensive search for challengers.
Tony said he had a nervous wait as the Guinness World Record adjudication team pored over the documentary evidence of his latest attempt, including high-tech digital audio and video recordings taken as he attempted the record live on the TVNZ Good Morning Show.
The adjudicators requested additional slow-motion video footage to analyse, as they found it difficult to view his feet at full speed.
Tony credits his latest achievement to nine months of intensive fitness training with two-times world mountain running champion Melissa Moon.
"I went from being a non-runner to regularly running half marathons as part of the preparation for my second attempt at the record," says Tony.
"We applied the mental strategies that Melissa Moon uses in her mountain running and combined them with the tactics and training of a track sprinter. But I have to say I'm pleased I don't have to run up the hills of Wellington anymore as she just about killed me at times."
Tony's achievement is even more extraordinary considering he was crippled like Forrest Gump as a young boy. His mother Mary Adams, now 83, put him to tap dance at the age of three to straighten and strengthen his calliper-bound legs in an effort to avoid surgery.
Much to the amazement of the medical fraternity it worked, and within a few years Tony was able to run and play sport like other children his age. He went on to win many national dance titles and became New Zealand's first male tap dancing teacher in his late teens.
For sentimental reasons, Tony set both world records in the patent leather tap shoes that he last performed in 33 years ago. The old-style tap shoes would be "slower" as they are heavier, rigid and have screw-on metal plates, while modern ones have the plates riveted to the sole, and are significantly lighter and more flexible.
Since he broke the first record, Tony has been captivating audiences around the country and overseas with his high-energy speed tapping and inspirational speech about overcoming adversity and achieving in trouble times.
Tony says he was driven to set and defend the world record by a desire to lift the profile of New Zealand dancers overseas. When he broke the record the first time, there was intense overseas interest and he had over 100,000 visits to his website at http://www.tonyadams.com, numerous national and international media enquiries, and interest from David Letterman's The Late Show.
"I get frustrated that New Zealand has produced so many extraordinary dancers and choreographers over the years but no one hears about them. So it's very satisfying to show the northern hemisphere that the fastest tap dancer in the world is a Kiwi. Setting the record twice shows them that we really can dance down here and that the first time was no fluke."
He has attracted the sponsorship of Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts Group and Sydney-based Scorpio Music to assist him promote New Zealand dance overseas.