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Tour operator gets the 'ultimate selfie' on top of Rio's iconic statue

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Christ the Redeemer statue that towers above Rio de Janeiro. (Reuters)

The owner of a travel company has gotten the "ultimate selfie" ever: on top of Brazil's iconic Christ The Redeemer statue.

Lee Thompson, founder of the British adventure travel company The Flash Pack, convinced the Brazilian tourist board to let him climb the world-recognized landmark, as the country prepares for the World Cup.

The statue, which is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is not open to the public.  Lightning struck the towering art deco figure in January and workers have been repairing the damage. 

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“Looking at this selfie still makes my heart race and knees buckle!” he wrote in a blog post on his travel company website.

It took Thompson, 31, almost a half hour on May 29 to reach the summit of the 124ft-high statue.

With the help of workers, he crawled in circles up 12 flights of stairs before climbing a rope through a hatch that opened on Jesus’ crown.

"As I popped my head out of the hole in Jesus's crown, I was in total and utter awe as my eyes met with a vast panorama that quite literally took my breath away," Thompson wrote. "Talk about a religious experience!

Thompson said he got lots of messages from Brazilians who always wanted to make the climb.  He shot a selfie to mark the once-in-a-life opportunity because it is "a powerful medium through which we can share our perspectives."  

Check out the video of his crazy climb.  If you're afraid of heights, let's just say you've been warned.