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Did You Know...

... that "O Canada" was played for the first time at the 5th DIPC 2014?

posted Jan 7th, 2015 - The Fifth Dubai International Parachuting Championships offered all the usual incredible show elements once again for the visitors, and the official event dinner brought participants and officials to the base of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa (2,722 feet) this time. Amazing...

There was something else catching my attention in a special and different way. I have heard many national anthems at the award ceremonies of the international events. It is usually the Marseillaise (France), the Star-Spangled Banner (U.S.) and the Russian national anthems played many times, and it was not different at the DIPC 2014. By the way: La Marseillaise, a happy and energetic marching song, sounded more like a dirge in Dubai, as it was played much too slowly.

The French and Russian delegations enjoyed their anthems overwhelmingly often, and the U.S. delegation came into the music play only at the very end when they almost swept the canopy-piloting events. U.S. swoopers won all individual gold medals, and only the French team stopped the complete sweep with one more very slow La Marseillaise at the very end.

Evolution with fans at the 5th DIPC 2014

TURNING POINTS - New Music in Dubai

There were a few other nations on the first place spot on the podium, but it was one specific national anthem that was completely new to me and that I heard for the first time in the 32 years of my presence at international formation-skydiving competitions: the Canadian national anthem.

The host played "0 Canada" two times, as Evolution won the 4-way open class and the 4-way VFS competition. It was a great start for Canada into the musical part of international formation-skydiving competitions, and it may not be the last time that "0 Canada" is played.

The Evolution family team (Martin, Vincent, Benoit Lemay) plus Jean-Christophe Ouimet (4-way VFS competitor and 4-way open videographer) and Katie Woods (4-way open) were part of the TURNING POINTS story in the spring of 2013 where I introduced family connections in the sport.

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NSL Talk with Evolution in Dubai
It was not a big surprise for the SUN PATH PRODUCTS NSL NEWS audience that Evolution won the competition in Dubai since Arizona Airspeed was not present, and NMP-PCH Hayabusa, the new reigning 4-way world champions from Belgium, competed for the first time with their new lineup. Evolution came to Dubai with the same lineup that won the bronze medals in Prostejov 2014. It may not have been a big surprise, but it was still the first time that the Canadian national anthem was played at the award ceremony.

The previous story in the spring of 2013 was mostly pointing out how family teams manage their tighter bonds and seem to have great success in 4-way and 8-way competition. It is in fact once again quite amazing that the best two 4-way teams in Dubai 2014 had three brothers (Martin, Vincent and Benoit Lemay) and two brothers (David and Andy Grauwels) in their lineups. On top of that, the 4-way team in third place, SDC Rhythm XP, has a married couple (JaNette and Steve Lefkowitz) in their front piece.

Videos: Evolution at the 5th DIPC 2014 in 4-way Open and 4-way VFS
Complete Lemay family at the Mondial Dubai 2012
So "0 Canada" was played for the first time in my skydiving career, but the big question is whether it will be played again at the event that really counts—the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2016 at Skydive Chicago, the next Mondial.

Evolution has lived up perfectly to the team name. The Lemay family began with a ninth place finish at the World Meet 2006 in Germany. That was without Benoit Lemay who was too young to compete with his family at that point. He was in the lineup for the first time when Evolution placed sixth in France 2008. Father Michel Lemay then guided his three sons to fifth place in Russia 2010 and fourth in Dubai 2012. Then he decided to step back and make room for Katie Woods. Two years later, Evolution won the team's first medals with third in Prostejov 2014.

It seems like Evolution might be able to skip the silver medal position and go for the gold — and the next playing of "0 Canada" — at the awards ceremony in 2016. Their first place at the DIPC 2014 and defeating the reigning world champions from Belgium are more than promising: Canada has the best 4-way team in the world at the moment.

Joggling the options: Evolution at the World Meet 2014 in Prostejov
The next two years will still be anything but a walk in the park for the Canadians; Arizona Airspeed has a new lineup that will catch up to the world's top level very quickly, and SDC Rhythm XP is ready to challenge the U.S. champions seriously in 2015. Hayabusa is already back on the world's top level and got there faster than expected with a new team member.

However, Evolution is not concerned much with the competition. The young Canadians know that they can win if they train enough. Their progression over the years has made it very clear that Evolution is ready to get to the very top. There are other obstacles that have to be removed before making the last big step.

The team knows that they have to focus on only one event if they want to win the 4-way open class competition in 2016. They love VFS 4-way too and believe that nothing is impossible. That is surely true, however, double duties would at least reduce their chances significantly, and even full-time training solely in 4-way open does not guarantee them gold medals in 2016. Their budget also needs to be secured for two years, and other logistics have to be taken care of. It's still a long way to hearing "0 Canada" at the awards ceremony of the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2016...

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