OmniSkore Coverage - World Parachuting Championships, Corowa, Australia

The Ottley Swords

William H. OttleyFor NHL, it's the Stanley Cup. Sailing has the America's Cup. The perennial trophy is a tradition for many great sports, and for formation skydiving it is the Ottley Swords, one each for 4- and 8-way. The world champion of each event earns the right to display the sword at home for two years, after which the Excalibur returns to the next championship site to await it's next conqueror.

In 1985, Bill Ottley was visiting London and stopped at the Wilkinson Sword Co. museum. Inspiration struck - formation skydiving needed a trophy like this! Well, two someone quickly pointed out, there being 4- and 8-way, so Ottley purchased two Wilkinson swords and donated them to formation skydiving. He then obtained (and he is still the sole source of) the plaques which adorn each sword, along with the FAI logos.

The Ottley Swords have achieved legendary status within the ranks of FS competitors over the years. The plaques on each Excalibur bear the names of each winning team. The 4-way sword has been wielded by several countries, but for the last 14 years it has been in France and the United States, traditional powerhouses of formation skydiving. The 8-way sword has never left the possession of the United States. And, I am slightly proud to add, the Wagner name is on five of its plaques.