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Did You Know...

... that 4-way juniors get their own event in Bedford?

Blue Skies Mag: TURNING POINTS in June
posted Jun 17th, 2017 - I changed my mind. It's not the first time and fortunately our social and political system allows that, even though I often get in trouble at home when I do that...

Almost a year has gone by since I last reflected on the part of our sport that is very close to my own heart, as I love to share things in my life with my own kids. Flying together is one of them, even though it does not happen often enough.

My 4-way vision was that we all could not only fly together - girls and boys, teenagers, women and men - but also attend meets and enjoy 4-way competition with each other, and without separation into different categories.

I still believe we can do that and I still have no doubt that we are unique with this situation. Nobody has sent me any evidence yet that there are other sports in the same wonderful situation. However, my own vision might not be the best way to provide the 4-way juniors with the best environment.

Czech 4-way juniors at the World Challenge 2016

TURNING POINTS: 4-way Juniors - Part 3

The extra time at the World Challenge 2016 in Bedford that I took to watch the younger generations doing their thing was simply fun, as they are so playful and don't take things too seriously—while they are still performing very well. Of course, I kept my eyes on the 4-way juniors in the years gone by, not only since it is a part of my job. The experiences are still the same.

I am also still grateful that the legislators in our sport have not separated the girls from the boys in the official 4-way junior category, as they did in 4-way open/4-way women. Not yet...

So, what has changed, actually?

I was back in Bedford this year, right after the French Indoor Nationals, and host Paul Mayer had now sent his own Bodyflight junior teams into the 4-way battle, the Bodyflight Recruitz. Within two weeks, I had the opportunity to enjoy watching the French 4-way juniors of the Aerokart Ak'demie teams (French Indoor Nationals), the Czech Hurricane Factory juniors and the British youngsters (World Challenge).

World Challenge 2017
RankAA ClassF,G,D,P9,J,18E,7,M19,134,L,82,21C,14,201,K,OA,6,11N,B,H,Q15,22TotalAvg
1Skydive University SlovakiaSK29172914161613201735-20620.6
4HF Junior CubsCZ23192712161417191731-19519.5
5HF Junior FliesCZ23142515131311161523-16816.8
8Brain StormingIT21162210131313141223-15715.7
10Salty JacksUK16162210111312141323-15015.0
13Lobster Therma4UK1711149111010141020-12612.6
RankA ClassD,J,PM,C,7G,21E,H,19F,B,8Q,O,96,2N,K,A4,LF,221,ATotalAvg
1Olczyk Flyspot TeamPL27311721252817292021-23623.6
2Space MarinesIT22231719212015231419-19319.3
4Poor 4CastUK15151210151810191112-13713.7
6Got ShotsIE14151112101676910-11011.0
4ACT OneBE21152225232219192612-20420.4
8HF Junior BlueCZ106111410131010119-10410.4
9Recruitz 1UK9108119688137-898.9
10CJ RookiesDK636135658122-666.6
11Recruitz 2UK5544556655-505.0
Team Future at the World Challenge 2008
Paul and I had another long conversation after the event, which included the situation of the 4-way juniors. He is running a wind-tunnel operation and surely understands the potential of new generations of flyers for his own business.

However, he has also always been a man with a vision and new ideas, and I listen carefully when he is bringing up a topic. He has now worked with his own Bodyflight Recruitz juniors, and he has observed the activities of 4-way junior teams and competitors for many years.

In fact, it was at the World Challenge 2008 when the first 4-way juniors (Justin and Kayla Tinucci) competed in Bedford with Team Future (Rusty Lewis, Daniel Perry).

After the many years with a growing number of young competitors in Bedford, Paul Mayer has come to the conclusion that they should have their own event. Of course, I gave it additional thought after he brought up the topic and explained his position carefully.

French Indoor Nationals 2017
RankAA ClassP,Q,21D,B,14M,H,J,22C,7,FO,A,1113,8N,K,19G,E,26,151,9TotalAvg
1Aerokart Ak'demie 22624243020 122522 202222522.5
2Aerokart Ak'demie 12624252522 152223 202122322.3
3EFMP Filles2321202518121919131618618.6
4The Outsiders1922202417161019151617817.8
5Aerokart Ak'demie 32017182317 121814 141516816.8
6Shamal'In Clermont212118211713199141416716.7
9Los Pollos Locos141514161311131491313213.2
10Lemniscate ASPU Maubeuge171313181110812111212512.5
11Caelestis ASPU151512151381110101312212.2
12Toobiz'air Lens Dunkerque11121318881112101011311.3
13Canop en Boite121113149510118810110.1
14Yapuka Vannes121113149811795999.9
15Nev'Air PCP410171489111057959.5
15Les Anonymous1111111410797510959.5
18Weembi by Fretoy8777546563585.8
19Team 47 LCA8598724553565.6
Czech 4-way juniors at the World Challenge 2017
FAI/IPC has already given the 4-way juniors their own leaderboard (AA Class) and medals, and I don't know what their motivation and reasoning was. Fact is that the 4-way junior meets are still taking place at the same time and the same place where the 4-way seniors are conducting their events and activities.

Paul Mayer believes that 4-way juniors should have their own and separate events, where only 4-way juniors would interact with each other - inside and outside of the flying chamber.

He has a good point when he looks at the normal "everyday" environments of juniors and seniors and translates it into a meet environment.

The event life of 4-way seniors surely includes adult beverages and language, and the interest in other parts of a meet environment is different, too, compared to the juniors. I had to agree when I began to do what I like the most: Compare to other sports.

Bodyflight Recruitz at the World Challenge 2017
The junior and senior environments are not only separated due to major athletic differences. Different age groups just simply behave differently, in life as well as in sports. I am afraid that we will have to acknowledge this to conduct our own sport responsibly.

I am a little bit sad about this change of my own mind, as I love the fact that we can fly together and share the joy. However, we may have to wait until the teenagers turn into adults - whenever that would be officially - before we share the same environment, next to the flying chamber.

Paul Mayer is once again the first to take action on it. He plans to run the first "Youth World Championships" in September this year - and 4-way seniors are excluded...

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