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!

US Nationals Champions

The Golden Knights Competition Team just returned from a very successful 2012 US National Skydiving Championships, held in Eloy, Arizona.  50 Gold medals and 8 Bronze were won by the Golden Knight Competitors in 4 different Formation Skydiving events- 4-Way, 8-Way, 16-Way, and 10-Way Speed.  Members of the GK 8-Way Team also earned the Combined Overall Champion Gold Medals for the second consecutive year. 

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment at this year’s National Championships was the performance by the Golden Knights Female 4-Way Team (GKF4).  For the first time in US National history an all Female 4-Way Team made it onto the Podium, earning 3rd Place with a personal best 208 total points.  But it wasn’t without a fight- GKF4 entered round 10 of competition 1 point down from 3rd place.  As the audience watched the live judging in high anticipation, GKF4 won Round 10 by 2 points, thereby securing the Bronze and more importantly a place in US Competitive Skydiving History.  Later that evening at the Award Ceremony the crowd erupted as GKF4 was called to the Podium, the kind of cheering that sends chills down your spine.  There was no questioning the magnitude of the accomplishment achieved by the Golden Knights Female 4-Way Team. 

The Golden Knights 8-Way Team (GK8) stepped into action next, with the Russian National 8-Way Team present to challenge the Knights’ reigning Championship.  GK8 started off with a very strong Round 1, and never looked back.  The Russians were able to tie GK8 on 2 rounds, but that is as close as they would come.  GK8 finished the 10 rounds with 219 points, which ties their personal best performance in Competition.  The Russian National 8-Way Team finished in 2nd place as a “Guest” Team with 191 points.  

The Golden Knights also defended their National Titles in 16-Way and 10-Way Speed with Arizona Airspeed taking 2nd in both events.  With very successful Nationals under their belts, GK8 and GKF4 will continue to train for the upcoming World Parachuting Championships in Dubai.  The Golden Knights will represent the United States and the Army as they go head-to-head with top teams from around the World.  Army Strong!

Here are a few clips from the show:

GK-10Way:

http://omniskore.com/comp/2012/usnats/media/1807_4_cap.mp4

GKF4 Clip:

http://omniskore.com/comp/2012/usnats/media/1005_10_cap.mp4

GK-8Way:

http://omniskore.com/comp/2012/usnats/media/1505_1_cap.mp4

 

 

 

GK Competition Teams get ready for the US Nationals

As the 2012 USPA National Skydiving Championships approaches, the Golden Knights are still training hard.  In fact, the US Nationals are just about one week away.  While the end goal of this year is the World Meet in December, the US Nationals are a crucial stepping stone on that path.  The Golden Knights will represent the US Army in four different events; 4-way, 8-way, 10-way and 16-way Formation Skydiving.  The focus, of course, is on the 4-way and 8-way competition.

GKF4 returned from the World Cup in Prostejov at the beginning of August and dove right back into training.  They just passed 750 jumps for the year.  At this point, the only other confirmed all female team to attend Nationals will be the Canadian team, Crimson Fox.  The focus for GKF4 is to improve their position from the 2011 USPA Nationals.  They placed 10 out of 16 teams in 2011.

Just down the hallway, GK-8 has been training hard.  The US Nationals will be the first competition for them since the 2012 Paraclete XP Outdoor Skydiving Championship in DeLand, Florida, in which they took Gold.  During the nearly 7 months of training, GK-8 jumped nearly 600 times, knit-picking each one to maximize the training value.  One big highlight of Nationals for GK-8 will be competing against Russia’s Sky Panthers Barkli.  Although Barkli will be considered a guest team and not directly face GK-8, the two teams will meet again in less than a month in Dubai.

The members of the Golden Knights Competition team will also pay respect to a fallen teammate.  SSG Eric Holman, a former Golden Knight, was killed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom on August 15, 2012.  In tribute, the team wears the initials EH on their helmets, along with a white ribbon for awareness of the victims of terrorism.

This year the Nationals will take place at Skydive Arizona in Eloy, AZ.  While Nationals begin on the 24th of October, the 4-way event starts on October 29th, followed by 8-way, 10-way and finished off with 16-way.  To keep tabs on the competition and the positioning of GKF4 and GK-8, visit the Golden Knights (Facebook.com/USArmyGoldenKnights) or GKF4 (Facebook.com/USArmyGKF4) Facebook pages.  You can also visit USPANationals.com.

 

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