The Paraclete XP Outdoor Skydiving Championship/Shamrock Showdown wrapped up midday Sunday in sunny Deland, Florida. While this meet takes place in Florida, it has attracted more international teams than the years prior. In fact, there were more international teams than US teams in attendance. Many of these teams will meet again in Dubai 2012, making this competition even more interesting.
Once again, GKF4 went up against the female teams from Norway and France. The only newcomer to the scene was the Canadian team, Crimson Fox. While Crimson Fox is a relatively new team, they put on a good showing and have earned the official distinction as the first Canadian National Female 4-way Team.
At the World Parachuting Cup in August 2011, France, Norway and GKF4 competed under similar circumstances. At that competition, France took first and Norway took third over GKF4, who placed fourth. This competition’s standings ended up the same with France in first, Norway in second and GKF4 in third. While the spread between first and second was not as close, the battle for second was fierce, especially in the last three rounds, won by GKF4. In the end, Norway took second over GKF4 by one point.
The 8way battle between the Golden Knights (Team USA) and Russia ended Sunday with GK8 coming out on top. After 10 rounds the GK8 scored 219 points- 28 points ahead of the Russians. GK8 jumped out to an early lead on Saturday, winning the first 3 rounds of competition by 3 points each. The Russians were certainly not beat, as they went on to tie GK8 in rounds 4,5, and 6. On Sunday morning GK8 won rounds 7 and 8 by 4 and 7 points respectively. Round 9 presented a possible world record sequence of formations. The current 8way single round record of 31 points was set by the Golden Knights in 1997 and still stands today. GK8 tied that record on round 9 with 31 points in 50 seconds of freefall, but were deducted 2 points for an incomplete formation and incomplete separation. The Russian Team built 30 formations in time, but were also deducted 1 point resulting in another tie between GK8 and Russia. The Knights went on to win the final round by 6 points after Russia experienced a mid-air collision. The 21.9 average is a new Team best for GK8 in competition.
Following the Competition, GK8 presented the Russian 8way team with a Golden Knight Sword and plaque which reads “Friends, Comrades, Competitors”. SFC Brian Krause and SFC Sean Sweeney went on to explain the significance of the Sword and to express our appreciation for their long travels and commitment to competition. Competition history between USA and Russia goes back over 50 years, and will surely continue.
GK8 and GKF4 have returned to Fort Bragg, NC and, after a Safety Day of our own, the training will continue. Dubai 2012, here we come! Blue skies!