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 been something...

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: Airspeed.

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 start over. 

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 win 4-way.

Well, come Nationals, I'm hoping to see the USAPT put some good numbers up in 4-way!

Home | 4-Way  | 8-Way | Tidbits