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Did You Know...

... that Josh Hall's comeback might bring Airspeed back into the battle for gold?

Recent Airspeed crisis: Broken hand
posted Aug 18th, 2016 - The Sun Path Products NSL News reported on August 9th that Arizona Airspeed's point, Mikhail Markine, broke his hand during a training jump and would not be able to compete at the Mondial 2016.

Airspeed has been looking for the best solution for the crisis ever since, which occurred just a month before the start of the most important 4-way competition. The unfortunate story has now at least a happy end since the most wanted substitute has confirmed to help out in the emergency situation.

Former Airspeed point Josh Hall will fill the slot until after the event next month and train as much with the team as the schedules allow on both ends. The Airspeed training with the new Mondial lineup begins this weekend at Skydive Arizona.

FAI Mondial 2012
Rank4-way Open5,12,E6,D,B,KO,8,7N,13,1810,21,M19,H,11C,G,1,A20,9,1516,F,P,Q2,J,4TotalAvg
1Arizona AirspeedUS2734272223233225402627927.9
2NMP-PCH HayabusaBE2534272123243227402527827.8
3Aerodyne AerokartFR2630272123252923372426526.5
Arizona Airspeed in Prostejov 2014
The recent Airspeed trouble related directly to yesterday's Mondial preview of the 4-way Open Class competition, where the Sun Path Products NSL News introduced the complete field of teams in this Formation Skydiving category.

The situation before Mikhail Markine's injury had been indicating a potential duel between NMP PCH HayaBusa and Arizona Airspeed for the FAI gold medals. The Airspeed chances for a real battle with the Belgian 4-way world champions sank instantly after the unfortunate accident in sub-terminal Block 7 air.

In fact, the teams right behind Airspeed and HayaBusa on the virgin Mondial leaderboard (Evolution, France, Black Cat, Qatar Tigers) may have even seen a chance to challenge Airspeed for the silver medal position, as the Canadian team did in Prostejov 2014.

FAI World Meet 2014
Rank4-way OpenE,3,C,5F,6,D,2119,H,2M,4,1O,14,A,P8,J,167,11,1222,20,1517,G,1813,B,9TotalAvg
1NMP-PCH HayabusaBE3229252533252218262926426.4
2Arizona AirspeedUS3127252431232217242925325.3
Gold medals at the Mondial Dubai 2012
The situation around the medal rankings is now seeing another twist, as Airspeed was able to recruit Josh Hall, who was the prime choice. Airspeed is surely still the underdog in the pursuit of 4-way Open Class gold medals, as HayaBusa has been going through a 2-year period without any interruptions.

However, the teams with potentially new hopes for a chance to fight for the silver medals may experience a setback with Josh Hall's comeback. The Airspeed lineup for the Mondial 2016 is probably as strong as the one at the Mondial Dubai 2012, when three members of the current Airspeed lineup won the gold medals by one point over HayaBusa.

NMP PCH Hayabusa and Arizona Airspeed are actually in a very similar situation four weeks before Round 1 at Skydive Chicago. Both teams have three 2012 members in the same three slots: HayaBusa with Dennis Praet (Point), Andy Grauwels (Outside Center), David Grauwels (Inside Center) - Airspeed with Josh Hall (Point), Thomas Hughes (Outside Center), Niklas Hemlin (Inside Center).

FAI Mondial 2016
Rank4-way Open-----------TotalAvg
1NMP PCH HayaBusaBE-----------00.0
2Arizona AirspeedUS-----------00.0
5Black CatRU-----------00.0
6Qatar TigersQA-----------00.0
NMP PCH HayaBusa: Ready for new battle?
Both teams also have a new team member in the tail slot, HayaBusa with Jeroen Nollet and Airspeed with Thiago Gomes. Both tails also have exactly two years in their slots with their teams. Thiago Gomes came from the SDC Rhythm XP tail slot to move to point for Airspeed when Josh Hall stepped back. Then he switched back to the rear piece slot for Mark Kirkby at the end of the 2014 season.

Thomas Hughes, Niklas Hemlin and Josh Hall have trained together for two full years in their current slots and then won the gold medals in Dubai 2012. Thiago Gomes knows the tail slot as nobody else and has two years with Airspeed in the same slot in the books.

It seems like the teams behind HayaBusa and Airspeed might have to re-consider their chances for silver medals. It also seems like the reigning 4-way world champions from Belgium will be well advised to arrive at Skydive Chicago ready for a battle...

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