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.

 

Golden Knights Win Gold!

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

 

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