The Golden Knights Female 4-Way strike Gold! This past week, the team traveled to Prostejov, Czech Republic for the 2012 World Parachuting Cup in Formation Skydiving. GKF4 arrived the Friday prior to the opening ceremonies in order to conduct training jumps. These jumps were important for a variety of reasons. Not only would the jetlag from the long trip be hard to overcome, the aircraft used for the competition was a Turbolet. The team almost exclusively trains from a UV-18 Twin Otter so the door and the exit from the Turbolet needed worked on. The door of the Turbolet is slightly more narrow and taller than a Twin Otter. The placement of the bar, which is used by the team as a hand hold, is also different. By the time Monday, the official practice day, was over, GKF4 had made 10 jumps at Dropzone Prostejov.
GKF4 competed in the Women’s 4-way Formation Skydiving category. As you may know, they are also the US Team for the 2012 Mondial in Dubai this December. Although the list of teams who will be competing there is not official yet, two other female teams they will face competed in Prostejov; Norway’s Polaris and France’s Aerodyne Deep Blue Defenders. At the World Cup, Polaris joined GKF4 in the Women’s category while the Deep Blue Defenders competed in the Open class. France and GKF4 did not directly compete, but the competition was still one of the highlights of the meet. GKF4 has gone up against France on two previous occasions; the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 Paraclete XP Outdoor Skydiving Championships (the Shamrock Showdown). At both of these competitions, France has beaten GKF4. In fact, GKF4 had not outright won a round against them yet. This changed in Prostejov.
Day One of the competition brought the first four rounds. Three of these rounds were technical in nature and not the fastest to get through. The other round was much quicker, containing mostly Random formations. Inside Center of GKF4, Laura Dickmeyer said, “That first day of competition was probably the most in tune we have been as a team. We went up and let it loose. We gave it our all and it worked. All the hard work up to that point was paying off.” At the end of the day, the Team had won three of the four rounds, tied the other, and was up 3 and 11 points on France and Norway, respectively.
Day Two brought, what the commentators called, faster rounds. The good energy of the previous day continued, although with a little more pressure. Small mistakes on two of the rounds cost GKF4 a little ground. There was also a fast slot-switcher that the French really amped it up for. As the sun set on Day Two, GKF4 had won two rounds, while France won the other two. Final standings of the day put GKF4 one single point ahead of France and 22 points ahead of Norway.
The last two rounds of 4-way were held for the last day of competition, Thursday. Round 9 for GKF4 started off a little rough with a mistimed exit. They recovered but not without sacrificing a few points at a crucial time. This, combined with a good jump for France, put GKF4 one point down going into the final round. Norway also had a good round with a 17. Due to a rule dispute in the Open class, GKF4 boarded the plane with Norway and completed Round 10 almost a full hour before France was even on a call. With the final round done, the Team could relax a little, collect their thoughts and grab a quick lunch. To add to the drama of the final round, all video had to be turned in to the judges before any of it was to be scored. As a crowd gathered to watch the live judging, teams intermingled to get the best view. Of the 4-way, Norway was scored first. They received a final score of 16 due to one bust. GKF4 was next. They scored a 19. This meant France would have to score a 17 or less for GKF4 to beat them. A handful of Open class teams were judged. France was next. A less than stellar exit started the dive slow and a bust on a cataccord was costly. The final score was 16. GKF4 not only won Gold in their category, but proved they are true contenders for the upcoming Mondial in Dubai.
This is only the beginning of this story as GKF4, France and Norway make their ways back home, most definitely to train. Next stop for GKF4 is the US National Skydiving Championships in Eloy, AZ at the end of October. Until then, they will be training harder than before, pushing each other further, going faster, and all the while knowing their competition is doing the same. Blue Skies!
Don’t forget to keep track of GKF4’s progress at www.facebook.com/USArmyGKF4