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Did You Know...

... that SDC Rhythm XP can win USPA medals this year?

USPA silver medals in 2012
posted Apr 16th, 2014 - SDC Rhythm XP moved up into the AAA/Open Class competition at the USPA Nationals 2009. Team founders JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz had won the USPA gold medals in the AAA/Advanced Class with Laurent Beaudouin and Brian Ball in 2008 and placed 6th with Rob Radez for Brian Ball a year later at their first national championships in the Open Class.

Thiago Gomes replaced Laurent Beaudouin in 2010, and the new lineup took the 5th place at the USPA Nationals 2010 (20.5) and the 4th place in 2011 with a 21.5 average. Rhythm skipped the USPA bronze medal position after Chris Farina joined the team in 2012 and finished in 2nd place with a 23.8 average.

Thiago Gomes and Chris Farina then left Rhythm and joined Arizona Airspeed, while JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz re-built the team with Christy Frikken and Mikhail Markine. The new Rhythm lineup placed once again right behind the new Airspeed lineup (25.5 - 22.7) although there was a difference. Rhythm did not win USPA medals this time.

USPA Nationals 2012Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAAA Class3,B,K,HF,7,22O,4,D,13A,M,11,8N,P,G,19L,20,15,16,J6,21,1218,17,10E,C,Q,15TotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)3028242334222819203726526.5
2SDC Rhythm XP (US)3024232425212517193023823.8
3Evolution (CA)2420222122192616183322122.1
USPA podium and no medals in 2013
The new lineup was not eligible for USPA medals since Tail Mikhail Markine did not have official residency in the USA. He was born in Russia and moved to Canada in 1999. There he started skydiving at the Parachute School of Toronto in 2006 at the age of 20.

He moved to Northern California in 2007 and still had his Canadian residency status until 2013. JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz did not see this as a problem, as Mikhail Markine was planning to obtain US resideny as soon as possible. They selected him as the new Rhythm Tail in January 2013.

SDC Rhythm XP knew that they could not win USPA medals in 2013, as Mikhail Markine would not be able to complete his US immigration process timely for the national championships. They accepted the situation and were looking at the bigger picture in longer terms.

USPA Nationals 2012Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAdvanced Class3,B,K,HF,7,22O,4,D,13A,M,11,8N,P,G,19L,20,15,16,J6,21,1218,17,10E,C,Q,15TotalAvg
1Vibe (US)2117161718151714131916716.7
2Dubai Asaar Red (AE)1717161620141914111816216.2
3Air Force Paradigm (US)2114171617101511111915115.1
3Air Force Legacy (US)2014131317141712131815115.1
On the way to USPA medals in 2014: Mikhail Markine with Steve and JaNette Lefkowitz
Mikhail Markine had been in a similar situation before, where his team mates accepted the fact that they could not win USPA medals. Vibe (Christine Freiherr, Don Burnette and Jane McGuire, with George Katsoulis on camera) won the AAA/Advanced Class competition at the USPA Nationals 2012 as a guest team with Mikhail Markine.

A year later, SDC Rhythm XP's new lineup once again placed 2nd at the USPA Nationals 2013 in the AAA/Open Class but did not receive the USPA silver medals. Rhythm was a guest team, and Mikhail Markine placed in a medal position for the second consecutive year without official recognition.

The situation has now changed for SDC Rhythm XP and the team's newest member. Mikhail Markine announced good news for his team and the Rhythm fans last week:

USPA Nationals 2013Rd. 1Rd. 2Rd. 3Rd. 4Rd. 5Rd. 6Rd. 7Rd. 8Rd. 9Rd. 10TotalAvg
RankAAA ClassG,9,C,PF,5,151,E,84,M,7H,N,B,O,314,20,LQ,K,12,1711,16,1910,A,182,22,DTotalAvg
1Arizona Airspeed (US)3828222633232520192125525.5
2SDC Rhythm XP (US)3324182629212118181922722.7
3Paraclete XP4 (US)2821192327201718151720520.5
Bigger picture and longer terms for new Rhythm lineup
"I'm very excited to announce that I'm now a US Green Card holder! After being a guest competitor at US Nationals for 5 years in a row, I am finally eligible for medals with SDC Rhythm XP! I'm grateful for the overwhelming support I've received with pushing this through. Thanks to my teammates, friends and family for believing in me and encouraging me along the way. Thanks to the entire US skydiving community for going out of your way to back me up. Finally, a special thanks to my lawyers for their great work. Thank you!"

SDC Rhythm XP will most likely repeat the 2nd place finish of 2012 and 2013 this year, as Arizona Airspeed is too far ahead at the moment. However, Rhythm was aiming at the 2015 season, which brings a new qualification for the next Mondial in 2016 on Rhythm home turf at Skydive Chicago. That seems to be a great goal, and three 2nd place finishes would probably be enough...

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