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Did You Know...

... that the public view has not changed?

posted Mar 23rd, 2008 - The NSL once again invited the local media to participate in the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008. Press releases and invitations to the media representatives were sent out prior to the event. The result was once again very different to any expectations after the reporter of the Daytona Beach News-Journal visited live throughout the event weekend.

One of the press realeases provided the following information:

For Immediate Release, March 10, 2008

FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008

International Skydiving Competition, March 15 – 16 in DeLand

Hosted by: Skydive DeLand 386-738-3539, Information: National Skydiving League 386-742-0754

LeMay family with coach Shannon Pilcher


International skydiving competition includes unique family affair in DeLand

Michel LeMay is a skydiving competition veteran. He won gold medals with the Canadian national teams in the late 70's and early 80's. His three sons Martin, Vincent and Benoit, were not even born by then.

Father Michel eventually made his passion a profession and opened a skydiving center, NouvelAir, near Montreal in 1990. Martin, Vincent and Benoit LeMay grew up at the modern business operation on the airport. They helped with the ground work and turned into skydivers themselves, step by step and son by son.

Michel LeMay had the vision to train his own sons and turn the family 4-way into a world-class competition team.

LeMay family entertainment
His vision materialized last year when his youngest son Benoit finally joined the lineup, and the complete LeMay family picked up efforts and pace. One year later, "Team Evolution" is widely known as one of the best 4-way teams in the world, and this is only the beginning of a pursuit of family excellence in freefall competition.

The LeMay family will represent Canada as the country's national 4-way team at this year's World Championship of Formation Skydiving in August in France.

The first serious test for "Team Evolution" is coming up this weekend in DeLand, Florida. The annual "FSL Shamrock Showdown" competition brings the best 4-way teams of the world to DeLand, plus several world-class teams from across the USA. Teams from nine different nations use the season opener to test the skies at the beginning of the world meet season.

Evolution at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2008
Skydive DeLand is hosting the annual event at the DeLand Municipal Airport. During the event, the 4-way formation skydiving teams will exit the plane at 10,500 feet and perform a series of pre-selected maneuvers within 35 seconds to earn points. At about 4,000 feet, the team members will separate and open their parachutes. Each team’s photographer films the performance in freefall. As soon as the team lands, the videotape is turned over to the judges. The public can view the landings live and the freefall part of the jump on televisions.

The LeMay family has already been in town for a while and prepares for the high-profile competition. The days leading into the competition on Saturday and Sunday are an opportunity to meet the LeMay family and/or use the team's freefall footage for media purposes. Please contact the NSL for further information.

Event: Shamrock Showdown 2008

Location: Skydive DeLand at the DeLand Municipal Airport

Date: March 15 - 16, 2008

For more information, pictures and interviews: National Skydiving League, 386-742-0754 Telephone,,

This is the article that was published on Sunday, March 23. There is still a lot of work ahead until Formation Skydiving competition will eventually be perceived and respected as what it is: a fun and exciting athletic sport...
Event morning at Skydive DeLand

Sky divers drop in to DeLand just for the excitement

Teams converge for Shamrock Showdown

By RON WHITE, Correspondent

DELAND -- They came from around the globe.

There was a strapping French playboy, whose jumpsuit -- unzipped to his waist -- revealed a bronzed chest and thick gold chain, both gleaming in the sun.

There was the lanky neo-hippie with his tie-dye jumpsuit and long dark dreadlocks, and a baby-faced U.S. Army soldier, trained to swoop down under cover of night. Everyone called him "sir."

Many others at the unusual gathering showcased their flamboyance by pulling off daredevil-worthy aerial maneuvers as they floated toward a landing last weekend during the Shamrock Showdown team skydiving competition at Skydive DeLand, based at the DeLand Municipal Airport.

Event site
Despite such bold differences, a common bond brought them together: an indelible yearning to soar.

All seemed smitten by the unique sensation of dropping in, falling like a rock and then, after yanking their chute cords, floating through the ether like overgrown snowflakes.

"This sport attracts all kinds of people, and there's a great camaraderie," said Sean Sweeney, a member of the U.S. Army's Golden Knights jump team.

"It's not like traditional sports. This isn't football. We're not pounding on each other, and it's pretty common for teams to seek out each other for help," added Sweeney, whose home base is Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

Sweeney, whose father was also a Golden Knight, was one of many competitors for whom skydiving is a family affair.

Golden Knights
Canada Evolution, which finished third among 22 teams competing in the Showdown, is also a family story. The team features 49-year-old Michel LeMay and his three sons, Benoit, 17, Martin, 22, and Vincent, 19. The four live in the same home in Montreal and run a skydiving business.

Benoit LeMay said he joined his father and older brothers in the sky because "it's a lot of fun."

"You get that sensation of flight. You can't beat that," Michel LeMay added.

Californian Brianne Thompson, a member of the U.S. Women's Skydiving Team, came to the sport simply because she has wanted to jump from an airplane since learning as a child that it was possible.

"On my 18th birthday, I finally made my dad take me. The rest is history. You usually know after your first jump whether you're hooked," said Thompson, who works as a skydiving instructor when she isn't training with her team, which makes approximately 300 jumps per year and spends additional time working on formations in a wind tunnel.

Thompson said the diversity is a key to the sport's growth, which is also limited because it doesn't offer much for spectators. A few dozen onlookers were present during the weekend competition, but most only saw the landings.

Sean Sweeney with Team Twisted
Though it's one of the more extreme of the many fledgling extreme sports, team formation skydiving is quite a leap from the basic jump. Thompson said it's 75 percent mental. It requires concentration, creativity, strength and stamina.

After leaping together from planes at 10,500 feet, teammates take horizontal positions and grip each other's arms, waists, legs or shoulders, connecting together like links in a chain. They break apart for split seconds to change formation and reconnect. Each team is allowed 35 seconds to complete its formations, which must be done in sequences determined by judges who score the jumps by viewing videos supplied by team camera operators who join the athletes during their jumps.

USA Airspeed Odyssey won the Showdown. The Arizona-based team, featuring Andy Delk, Craig Girard, Mark Kirkby and Eliana Rodriguez, scored 252 points to finish just ahead of France Maubeuge. The competition was considered good practice for the World Championships later this year.

Brianne Thompson with Fastrax Blue
For all its edginess, the synchronized movements give the impression of a waltz, albeit one where a rushing wind keeps the beat and the dance floor is anything but solid.

"It does have some of the same elements you find in dancing," said Thompson, whose team finished 17th. "It takes lots of coordination."

Of course, Thompson noted, most people who learn of her career and hobby think it takes more guts than anything else.

"A lot of people tell me they'd never do it," said Thompson. "They think I'm crazy. I hear that a lot."

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