Austria has a new national hero.
Daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner yesterday became the first man to shatter the sound barrier without traveling in a jet or a spacecraft, when he jumped from a balloon floating in the stratosphere above the New Mexico desert.
The country is already known as the birthplace of Mozart, Schubert and Freud. But it is also frequently invoked as the birthplace of Hitler. And many Austrians are happy to have a new local hero swelling the ranks of the nation's good guys.
Some say they're just hoping their country won't keep getting confused with Australia.
Almost 3 million Austrians -- more than a third of the country's population -- watched the jump live on TV.
Austria's president and chancellor sent their congratulations, as did another famous Austrian -- Arnold Schwarzenegger.
GRAPHICSBANK: Felix Baumgartner of Austria waving to crowd after successfully jumping from capsule on the edge of space, Roswell, New Mexico, graphic element on gray (15 Oct 2012)
APPHOTO NY220: This image made from video, provided by Red Bull Stratos shows pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria as he jumps out of the capsule during the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. In a giant leap from more than 24 miles up, Baumgartner shattered the sound barrier Sunday while making the highest jump ever — a tumbling, death-defying plunge from a balloon to a safe landing in the New Mexico desert. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos) (14 Oct 2012)
<<APPHOTO NY220 (10/14/12)>>
APPHOTO NY221: In this photo provided by Red Bull Stratos, Pilot Felix Baumgartner of Austria celebrates after successfully completing the final manned flight for Red Bull Stratos in Roswell, N.M., Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012. Baumgartner came down safely in the eastern New Mexico desert minutes about nine minutes after jumping from his capsule 128,097 feet, or roughly 24 miles, above Earth. (AP Photo/Red Bull Stratos, Balazs Gardi) (14 Oct 2012)
<<APPHOTO NY221 (10/14/12)>>