World Champions!


SFC Isenbarger holds the Ottley Sword high as GK8 Stands atop the podium. The Ottley Sword dates back to the 1970s, and is awarded to the best 8-Way Formation Skydiving Team in the World every 2 years.

Representing the USA, members of the Golden Knights 8-Way Formation Skydiving Team (GK8) have earned the right to be called “World Champions” by winning Gold at the 2012 World Parachuting Championships in Dubai, U.A.E.   In addition, GK8 set a new World Record for most points scored in competition- 229, beating the old record of 224 set in 1997.

Winning the Gold was no easy task, as the French National Team arrived in Dubai determined to defend their reigning World Championship.   France showed this determination in Round 1, beating GK8 by 1 point to start off the competition.   After a tie in Round 2, GK8 decided to turn up the intensity, and it paid off.  GK8 had a near perfect performance in Round 3, while France suffered from a minor mistake, resulting in 5 point swing in favor of the Knights.   GK8 entered Round 4 knowing very well that a 4 point lead was not enough to become conservative against the reigning World Champions.  With another high intensity jump, the Knights picked up 3 more points on the French.   The 7 point lead did not last long as France fired back in rounds 5 & 6, cutting the Knights lead back down to 4 points.  GK8 was determined to remain on the offensive, but also limit costly mistakes for the final four rounds.  The strategy proved successful, as the two top teams went on to tie in each of the remaining four rounds.  GK8 landed from Round 10 fairly confident that they had held onto their lead, and the competition pressure that had mounted over 8 days finally started to lift.  Members of the Golden Knights 8-Way Team broke out in celebration immediately after the judges confirmed their victory.  Four years of intense training and determination had paid off!

SFC Brian Krause receives a water shower in celebration.

“It’s been an honor to represent the U.S. Army and the United States of America on this World Stage.   I believe we demonstrated that, when properly trained, American Soldiers will prevail.” –SFC Mike LaRoche

This was the first World Meet for the Golden Knight Female 4-Way team. In preparation, this two-year team completed 800 training jumps and multiple hours of tunnel time.  This year kicked off with the Shamrock Showdown in Deland, FL. There, GKF4 finished with a 17.2 average. The competition at the World Meet was mostly familiar. Of the 14 female teams, GKF4 had faced 7 of them at one time or another. These teams were Canada, Brazil, Russia, Norway, UK, UAE and France. GKF4 led the competition for the first 7 rounds. In Round 8, France pulled ahead by one point. In the end, GKF4 won Silver with a 20.1 average.

The Competition Team will now enjoy some time off with family for the Holidays.  The Knights plan to train hard next year to defend their titles and continue the tradition of excellence that has been established.  Army Strong!

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