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.

 

Competition Team Performs Parachute Maintenance

                The Golden Knights Competition Team took a break from training to perform necessary equipment maintenance today at the Golden Knights Headquarters on Ft. Bragg, NC.  The work is headed up by the five Parachute Maintenance Technicians (Riggers) assigned to the Competition Team. Although members of the Competition Team hold various Military Occupational Specialties from Intelligence Analyst to Truck Driver, each Teammate takes part in the equipment and parachute maintenance.

                Re-lining the parachutes proves to be the most time-consuming task. The Competitors have made over 500 freefall training jumps this year in preparation for the upcoming US Nationals and World Parachuting Championships. As jump numbers increase, the Riggers closely monitor wear on the parachute lines, and replace them as necessary.  The Competitors team up and replace lines, one by one. Each line must be measured and “tacked” in place by a special sewing machine. The lines are made up of several different lengths and must be attached to exact points on the parachute to ensure proper trim, flight characteristics, and a soft opening. The work is always double checked by a Certified Rigger to ensure accuracy and integrity.

                With the periodic maintenance complete, the Competition Team will turn its focus to the upcoming US Nationals to be held in Eloy, AZ. The Golden Knights look to defend their titles in 8way, Women’s 4way, and Overall Champions. Competition is set to kick-off Oct. 29th, check back for updates! 

 

 

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