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There have been other passionate event organizers who shared the vision. However, the necessary resources have never been available yet to present the sport the way it deserves it, with a few exceptions where skydiving competition was plugged into other larger events with larger budgets.
The Sun Path Products NSL News has tried for years to get as close as possible to live coverage, with "NSL Reality TV" including interviews and unedited scenes from the event sites. It is no big surprise that the first "real" live coverage recently came from indoor competitions, as the wind tunnel operators have better financial resources to make it happen. It still doesn't mean that outdoor competition will not get its turn. The vision is still alive...
However, there were very few people whom 1 shared another vision with that seemed to be even more ambitious. I kept it mostly to myself and have continued only dreaming about it once in a while.
This vision was about what could be done if we had unlimited resources - how 4way competition could be presented to the general public and to the media if we could do whatever needed to be done to make it attractive.
Then I recently followed the online live streaming of some indoor events, and my mind began going back to the same thoughts. I realized again that we are getting closer to seeing one day what could be done.
It began with the online live streaming of the Wind Games in Empuriabrava, an indoor competition including 4way. I had to admit that watching people flying here and there, and then an empty tunnel chamber for a long time, always from the same static camera angle, would not be very exciting for an online or a TV audience. It was still a good direction, I thought.
The static camera angle was still always the same, whether it was for flying action, for interviews, for the commentary or the empty tunnel chamber. I also had to admit again that even watching the actual flying action did not get me too excited as a neutral observer. Of course, I was very interested and thankful as a 4way competitor, as I could follow the event and the people who I know well. But that's a very different angle.
Anyhow, the brave new indoor world has allowed skydiving competition to take the next step in bringing our sport closer to the general public and to the media. Of course, it is much easier to plan a live production and execute it if the environment is consistent and reliable - as it is in a wind tunnel. In addition, the operators usually have better budget options than DZ owners and are in the position to invest in a PR campaign and in the production of a live show.
I see a skydiving stadium with bleachers and hot dog stands and beer tabs. I see the competitors lifting off in helicopters in the stadium's parking lot and live streaming of the faces on the way up, then the exits and the freefall performance live over the stadium on the giant screen, including the openings of the parachutes. The competitors are landing in the stadium, and Joey Jones has his microphone ready to ask Thomas Hughes right after the landing of Round 1, "So, how was it?" That's all live on the giant jumbo screen and the stadium's audio system. You watch a few more jumps and then you go and get your hot dog and beer before Arizona Airspeed is up again with the next round. Or you try to get an autograph from Thomas Hughes.
Yes, it's still a vision... But it's all just a matter of resources, and we are getting closer in our very young sport.