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I always try not to be too critical, as I really love the sport and its community, and often I just swallow a few times and move on without saying anything. On the other hand, my German roots, I guess, make it very difficult for me to keep my mouth shut when there is something controversial that I should contribute to a discussion.
However, I have come to the point again where I cannot keep my mouth shut and it is the same topic, the rules. For several years, I have given our sanctioning organization, the International Parachuting Commission (IPC) of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), credit for leaving the rules untouched, as they were good and working well. Then I recently felt like picking up the topic again when suggestions for new dive pool changes came to my attention (Turning Points: Slippery Road).
I am still hoping that the rules - and the dive pool as part of them - will not change, as I support continuity and consistency if there is no major problem. And there is nothing wrong with the current dive pool.
It was the tie-breaking procedure that was flawed and it came to the surface when the athletic outcome of the 4-way Women's competition was questioned:
"Several participants questioned whether the score for Round 2 was the proper and fair factor to break the tie between the two teams in Banja Luka - and for any other competition. The jump-off itself as the first level of the tie-breaking procedure was never in doubt and is fully supported by everybody.
Of course, it adds extra spice to an exciting competition and offers another opportunity for the teams to win the battle in freefall (in the flying chamber). The main questions are behind the next level of tie-breaking, in case the teams don't do it in the jump-off round, or when the weather situation or the schedule may not allow any additional jumps."
FAI World Cup 2013
|1||Aerodyne French Girls||FR||21||27||16||18||20||17||17||23||24||20||17||203||20.3|
|5||Dubai Asaar Ladies||AE||15||16||13||12||15||12||13||17||14||14||-||141||14.1|
|8||Infra Red Band||RU||14||12||13||12||11||10||10||16||14||11||8||123||12.3|
The lawmakers (FAI/IPC) took on the issue and had it fixed with a new definition for the tie-breaking procedure and it was successfully applied a few times between 2014 and 2017. In fact, the last time the tie-breaking procedure of that time period was used was the FAI World Cup 2017 in Saarlouis where the Russian team Bubble Trouble won silver medals after applying the rules when bad weather stopped the meet short of completion. Bubble Trouble was the stronger team at the end of the meet (Round 5), the finish line in our sport, and the silver medals went to Russia.
The FAI/IPC law makers apparently still did not like the rules they had applied since 2014, as they changed the tie-breaking procedure again at the beginning of this year. It did not catch my attention, as I did not expect a step backward in time. Only the latest tie-breaking situation at FAI's new European Indoor Championships in Norway made me wonder what was going on.
The British national team NFTO and again Russia's Bubble Trouble were tied after Round 10 and went back into the flying chamber for an extra round, and I love that. They tied their scores again and that was it for the flying part. The rules allow only one extra round and then require the application of the tie-breaking procedure.
Fine - until I found out that the winner of the silver medals was the team with the highest score in the 10-round meet. What... ??? Yes, the rules had changed again and they are identical with the ones until 2013. Forward into the past...
FAI World Cup 2017
|1||French Weembi Girls||FR||29||17||19||16||23||104||20.8|
|3||Parachute Montreal Fuzion||CA||24||20||16||15||16||91||18.2|
The results of Round 9, 10 and the extra round had become irrelevant. The finish line of the competition was simply moved backward into the middle of the meet.
Don't get me wrong, please. I am completely neutral about the winner, I just love the excitement and drama of 4-way competition and I wish there were medals for everybody.
NFTO and Bubble Trouble are both winners by competing at all and only one team could have the silver medals. However, the question is still the same: Who should get the medals in such a situation?
The answer is simple to me. I suggested it five years ago and the FAI/IPC law makers obviously agreed then:
FAI European Indoor Championships 2018
|1||Aerodyne Weembi Girls||FR||25||30||39||29||25||27||33||45||32||38||-||323||32.3|
|6||Voss Vind Girls||NO||15||19||22||17||16||16||19||26||22||25||-||197||19.7|
"As usual, I like to look around at other sports instead of re-inventing wheels, or rules. Sudden Death it is called when ice-hockey teams break their tie in overtime. Everything that happened before doesn't matter any longer. The same counts for any other overtime rules in other sports (running, basketball, football, soccer, etc.). Golfers play additional holes and have to forget what happened earlier."
"The jump-off in Formation Skydiving competition follows the same rule and the same idea: The performance of a team at the jump-off point in time is the deciding factor. In other words, the better team at the last point in time should be the winner. This is not the case when the tie-breaking procedure finds the winning factor in Round 2 of a 10-round meet, which was done days earlier."
Nothing more to say, five years later...