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Did You Know...

... that the World Cup 2009 has open slots for US teams?

World Cup champion 2007: Hayabusa Defence
posted Jul 4th, 2009 - The event pages for all three Formation Skydiving events (4-way Open, 4-way Women, 8-way Open) of the FAI World Cup 2009 have been set up for a little while now, and the scores offer a review of the last World Cup in Russia 2007.

As in 2007, no US 4-way teams have registered for the most relevant international competition this year so far. The US 2009 slots seem to be open for other teams, as the three top contenders (Arizona Airspeed, Perris Fury, Spaceland Force XP) have no plans to travel to Europe at this point in time. However, the World Cup of 2007 was exciting enough, even without US participation, looking back at the jump-off between France Maubeuge and Hayabusa Defence for the gold medals.

The situation seems to be the same in the other two events, as the current list of registered teams shows US teams only in Vertical Formation Skydiving and Freestyle. It was easier to understand the situation in 2007 when US teams did not compete in Russia.

Airspeed and Fastrax at the Malevsky Cup 2007
The best US 4-way teams of 2007, Airspeed and Fastrax, had already competed at the Malesvky Cup 2007 in Russia and did not feel like going back to the same place a few weeks later. Then they had just a few weeks to get ready for the USPA Nationals 2007, which was the qualifyer for the World Meet in France 2008.

This year the competition schedule is different and seems to be much easier to accommodate. There is no Malevsky Cup any longer, and the World Cup 2009 is at a location that is much easier to travel to, Prostejov in the Czech Republic. The USPA Nationals 2009 are once again the qualifyer for the World Meet 2010 in Russia, but the date of the event late in October offers a significantly longer break between World Cup and USPA Nationals.

In fact, it seems as if the high-profile competition at the World Cup 2009 would serve as a perfectly timed pressure test for the USPA Nationals 2009. The six weeks between the end of the competition in the Czech Republic and the beginning of the USPA Nationals could be used very efficiently by any teams that would attend both events.

US team Thunder at the Malevsky Cup 2006
The three US top contenders have their own different reasons why they cannot make the trip to Europe this year. Arizona Airspeed already has a busy international travel agenda, similar to the situation in 2007. The reigning 4-way world champions travel to China this month to represent Air Sports and the USA at the World Games. Only the five top teams of the last World Championship of Formation Skydiving are invited to compete at the World Games.

Perris Fury said that the financial situation of the team is in the way. The Fury members have to pay their own trip to Europe, and the current economic situation makes it even more difficult to finance such a trip. The schedule of the Spaceland Force XP members is so busy that they barely find enough time to train.

The absence of the US top contenders still doesn't mean that there couldn't be US participation at the World Cup. Several other US teams competed at the international FAI event in the past. Elsinore Storm and a Passion8 4-way lineup competed at the 1998 event in Portugal, next to the Golden Knights and winner Space Center FX.

US delegation at the World Cup 2000
No traveling was necessary for the US teams in 2000 when Skydive Arizona hosted the event. The four US Slots were taken by the US top contenders (Airspeed Vertical, PD Blue, FX, Airspeed Zulu).

The four US slots were taken by the best US teams again in 2002 (DeLand Majik, Airspeed Vertical and two Golden Knights lineups). The World Cup took place after the USPA Nationals that year and did not cause any conflict of scheduling interests.

The next World Cup was held three years later, as the IPC changed the rotation between World Championships and World Cup. France hosted the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in 2003 and Croatia in 2004.

FAI World Cup 2009
The World Cup of 2005 was once again hosted by Skydive Arizona in Eloy, and the three US teams (Airspeed Vertical, DeLand Fire, Fastrax) did not have to travel far. The World Cup 2007 in Russia took place without any US participation.

There is still some time left, and registration is still open for any teams. International competition experience is even more valuable, and traveling to these high-profile events is great fun. The World Cup is the event that allows others than only the official national teams to experience international top competition. Hopefully, there will still be US participation in the Czech Republic this year.

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