2001 Valentine's Money Meet
Tidbits (Timbits + Tedbits)
And the competition season begins! We have 11 Open, 5
Intermediate, and 2 novice teams all on call for round 1 of
4-way. Headlining the Open competition are two Airspeed teams,
two Golden Knights teams, and the DeLand Norgies. Stick around
for a great competition!
WHEW that round one flew by fast; it always does when I'm
trying to get all the team photos all cropped and posted while
trying to drink a large coffee and catch a few peeks of the action
on DZTV. But what I did see sure looked good; Team USA (a.k.a. Airspeed Vertical)
has the early lead over the Norgies and
GK Gold. There are eleven Open teams, and only three of them
didn't score double-digits on round one.
Team USA, the Norgies, and Army Gold all just SPANKED it on
round two with 24 points each. And that's a jump with
photon>photon. Most impressive. As usual, the Norgies are
setting the standard in How to Skydive Clean with Great Video. Too
bad Maubeuge isn't here for a World Meet preview; that would have
The Norgies gained a point on AZV with a 22 on round three;
Team USA had a good jump but struggled with the Tee > Chinese
Tee out the door. Open is turning into a two-horse race, and a
good one too. Over there in Intermediate, Back Spin and Perris
Time Warp are duking it out pretty good too, tied after three.
Hey, I'll have some pictures posted HERE
shortly, be warned it'll be a long download on a slow connection.
WOW. If this is any preview of what's to come in Spain in a
few months, we're in for a great world meet. The Norgies have
pulled even with Team USA with another great jump with two rounds
to go. Way cool.
Watching Team USA do bipole>bipole is amazing; Johnny Eagle
does his 540 turn and is parked and waiting in his slot while his
teammates are just going past their 360 points. Craig, am I exaggerating
here? I didn't think so. Those are the fastest turns I've seen
outside of a Joe Leiberman speech!
Five down, one to go, and Team USA/Airspeed Vertical has
regained a one point lead over the Norgies. Both of these teams
are skydiving fast, hard, and clean. Army Gold has some real
flashes of brilliance, but they aren't consistent; I will guess
that they will be a serious contender when the Nationals come
around this fall. Well, let's see what happens on round
six...meanwhile MORE PICTURES HERE....
In Intermediate, Back Spin and Perris Time Warp ended up tied
after five back-and-forth rounds and the gold medal goes to Perris
Time Warp based on the highest round score. Sorry Back Spin, no
jumpoff! Interesting To Note Dept: GRD won the Novice class with a
total score of 22 points in five rounds. That's 0.2 points less
than Team USA's average during that time...
Round six: Team USA 21, Norgies 17. It was actually closer
than the score; the Norgies suffered a pair of J's
out the door that cost them two, and a late glitch cost them at
least another. Team USA's exit wasn't much better, but just
judgable enough (most of the teams had flat exits on the round),
and they cruised to a solid 21 to win by five. Nice job Team USA!
I do indeed hope the Norgies give us a real three-way battle for
the gold at the world meet, along with Maubeuge and Team USA. They
are all looking good, and it's just February yet.
8-way tomorrow, see you there. Barkeep!
Last night saw an interesting development, followed by
one heck of a good steak on Ted's deck. The development was
the fact that the Golden Knights are not doing 8-way at this
meet, a fact that had Larry Hill lobbying various team
members in an effort to get the team to give some
competition to the only other registered Open 8-way team:
At first, I wasn't really shocked that the Knights
weren't doing 8-way, but I was quite surprised. As a proud
team alumnus, I consider it part of the team's job to
compete in any and all formation skydiving events that they
can. Why not this one? Is this not competition experience?
Is this not an opportunity to represent the Army and
Formation Skydiving to the spectators and fellow
competitors? What happened to the spirit of competition that
so used to define who and what the Golden Knights were to
all of us?
I took the Knights' team leader John Hoover to task over
all this last night, and he gracefully answered every point
with clear explanations. Things have changed a lot, he said,
and he is right (for the most part). The Knights used to be
King of the Hill in the experience department, but these
days it's the civilians with five to ten thousand jumps and
the resources of entire drop zones at their disposal.
Meanwhile, sport parachute clubs have been vanishing from
military drop zones as the Army feels the pinch of short
manpower and funds, leading to far fewer tryout applications
arriving at the Army Parachute Team headquarters. Things
were never easy for the Army team -- trust me, I know -- and
there comes a time for even the best of organizations when
there is little more you can do than take a step back and
And so the Golden Knights Freefall Formation Team is
concentrating on 4-way this year, and as I write this, the
one and only 8-way Open team at this event is posting a 16
on round one. In a way, it's Larry's own fault that the
Knights aren't doing 8-way. His Airspeed team beat them
twice when it really counted.
One can only hope that the fortunes of our sport will one
day again enjoy the unparalleled level of competition
provided by the Army Golden Knights and Arizona Airspeed.
Without one, it is difficult, if not impossible, to justify
the other. Without either, we have all lost.
- Tim Wagner
John Hoover responds:
The last thing I want to do is create bad feelings
between the Golden Knights and the skydiving community at
large, but I have to do what I feel is best for the team at
this point. Right now we are at a critical stage in
our training. In the last few weeks both 4-way teams
have taken big steps in their averages and some of our newer
team members literally have just a few hundred formation
jumps. To take their focus away from what they have
achieve so far would be unproductive at this point.
Never fear, the Golden Knights will do 8-way at the
Nationals and other skydiving events. But right now we
have to focus on what we are doing; and that is trying to
Well, come Nationals, I'm hoping to see the USAPT put some good
numbers up in 4-way!
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