Sunday, September 26
It started with Hurricane Floyd on one side and Tropical Storm Harvey on the other. It threatened to be a total wash before the first plane got off the ground. It rained every day. But in the end, the 1999 US Splationals of Formation Skydiving not only completed on time, but all the events went the scheduled number of rounds (with the exception of the last two rounds of 16-way). But those would have been meaningless anyway. The Knights FX would have won taking zeros on the final two.
This was a Nationals with much to remember:
The new 4-way class structure validated by the numbers. Airspeed with the top two medals in the Open class. The Advanced class with a wonderful battle to the finish. The Intermediate class with 32 teams, four of which finished with an average of 10 or higher.
An unbelievable finish in 8-way. The Knights coming from six points down with two jumps left to win it by two, against a US team that was not slacking the least.
The 10-way event, in its second year under the new rules, a blast. No exit BS. Good old fashioned skydiving. Pink Panty Patrol winning the CG Godfrog award.
The Knights FX / Derek Thomas "guest team" fiasco...
The awards proceeded smoothly, starting with 4-way and working on up. It was particularly exciting to see Passion 8 on stage with Airspeed and the Golden Knights. Eight girls and sixteen guys, all a real class act. One very long standing ovation. As the 16-way awards approached, I was fearing the worst. Protests and hard feelings had been flying all over the place, with lots of finger pointing and threats. I heard talk of Deguello and Sebastian STI refusing to take the stage if Knights FX was awarded the gold. So I held my breath when Chris announced that after a lot of grief and wrangling with the rules and protests, the winner of the 1999 US Nationals of 16-way Formation Skydiving was...
I couldn't believe it. Deguello captain Jack Burke took the microphone and announced that although they had done well, it was the skydiving that counted, and another team had more points on the board than Deguello. Jack called Knights FX up to the stage and passed the gold medals on to them. The whole mess turned into a bloody love fest! Unbelievable.
So the Golden Knights...they went from being on the verge of going home empty handed to winning gold in 16- and 8-way in a matter of hours. And Gold Team won the Overall Champions award to boot! I'm not going to forget the end of these nationals any time soon. I hope Corowa provides as much excitement, hopefully without as much controversy!
So it's Sunday morning now and the judges are cleaning up the aftermath around me as I close out these tidbits. Thank you all for visiting, and of course be sure to come back for the World Meet. It should be a great show!
- Tim Wagner