OmniSkore Coverage - World Parachuting Championships, Corowa, Australia

Men’s Freestyle Competition Notes

by Christopher “Kermit” Rimple – Team Nitro, USA


Arizona's Team Nitro:
Chris and Grant

The Men’s Freestyle competition saw a very tight race this year, with the top four finishers from last year’s World Cup returning for more.  Expectations were high for Babylon (France), Arizona Freestyle (USA), and Team Nitro (USA), who had taken medals in the previous year, as well as the Israeli team that missed a medal by a small margin in 1998.  The new team of Ash & John (Australia) was also expected to have a good showing, but no one could have predicted the final outcome.

Competition moved slowly, most teams usually completing only two rounds per day, due to weather conditions and the number of teams participating.  After the first day was done and the compulsory round scores were posted, a very small margin separated the top 4 teams, and that trend continued throughout most of the event.  Babylon, who had compulsory scores in the low 80’s during the 1998 World Cup, obviously spent some time training and scored in the low 90’s this year, leaving them in 1st place after 2 rounds.  Arizona Freestyle, who spent little time on the compulsories before competition, was trailing in 7th place.

The second day brought out the free routines, and showed marked differences in performance styles, with each team focusing on their individual strengths.  Babylon combined speed and fluidity, Ash & John mixed freeflying with exceptional form, and Team Nitro showed “traditional” freestyle with variety and interaction.  Arizona Freestyle performed routines very similar to what they used in 1998, and the Israeli team, having had their training interrupted by injury during the year, still put together good form and good variety.  After 4 rounds, Team Nitro had moved to 3rd place, just 0.3 points behind France in 2nd, and Ash & John were in 1st.  Arizona Freestyle had a couple bad jumps and remained in 6th.

As the meet continued, difference in styles resulted in marked differences in scoring.  Arizona Freestyle, who had done well with “eagles” and “backflying” during the previous year, found their scores to be well below those of the top teams, who were performing more “traditional” freestyle with a mixture of interactive videography and freeflying movements.  Scores in the Difficulty and Execution categories dominated the competition, as the top teams posted 23+ (of 25) in each on a number of the free rounds.  With 6 rounds finished, Ash & John remained in 1st, while Team Nitro moved to 2nd and Babylon held a strong 3rd.  Israel stayed at 4th, the team from Denmark (competing internationally for the first time) held 5th, and Arizona Freestyle sat in 6th place.

When round 7 had finished and the “cut” was made, those same 6 teams continued onward.  Babylon moved closer to 2nd during round 8, posting a blazing compulsory score of 94.0, the best round of the meet for any team, and leaving them just 3.1 points behind Team Nitro.  But the places remained unchanged as the top three teams posted strong scores in the final rounds.  Israel, Denmark, and Arizona Freestyle, knowing that they were unlikely to move into the medal ranks, jumped together for the final round; they performed a group “tracking dive” and all received scores of 0 for their efforts (the rules specifically exclude teams from jumping together), but they certainly had fun.