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Did You Know...

... that French Girl Power keeps getting stronger?

Blue Skies Mag: TURNING POINTS in November
posted Jan 2nd, 2019 - It is no news that France has generated very successful teams in 4-way Women. In fact, the French female 4-way competitors have won the world championship titles in this specific event since 2010, with one interruption in 2016.

I have also pointed out several times in the past how female 4-way competitors have joined forces with boys in some of the best Open Class teams in the world. It still does not happen very often that a lineup of four female 4-way competitors get together and get to the top level in the Open Class.

All of the above then combined naturally for a fact that was established at the recent FAI World Championship of Formation Skydiving in Australia. The French national team in 4-way Women, Aerodyne Weembi Girls, defeated all other 4-way teams in the world, except for the Open Class world champions from Belgium, NMP PCH HayaBusa, and Arizona Airspeed.

The French Aerodyne Weembi Girls did not post their scores on the same leaderboard, together with all other boys and girls in the Open Class. However, both categories are using the same competition draw and the same judging panels, which allows a direct and honest comparison of the results. So it is a fact that the French 4-way Women team is the third best 4-way team in the world.

FAI World Meet 2018
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open/Women Combined 21,L,B,G 22,18,17 19,7,O J,16,12 10,A,D,15 Q,M,F,C,N H,20,P,13 6,14,11 E,2,5 4,1,3 Total Avg
1 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE 32 21 27 24 22 62 22 20 27 22 279 27.9
2 Arizona Airspeed US 26 21 27 24 24 60 26 22 27 20 277 27.7
3 Aerodyne Weembi Girls FR 29 20 24 22 25 56 23 18 22 18 257 25.7
4 Aerodyne Realfly FR 29 19 24 23 24 52 20 17 24 19 251 25.1
5 Qatar Tigers QA 24 14 24 21 22 53 21 18 20 17 234 23.4
6 Echochamber SE 25 16 21 17 20 48 14 18 21 15 215 21.5
7 Amnesya IT 24 14 20 18 18 48 18 14 21 15 210 21.0
8 NFTO UK 20 15 22 19 18 38 18 17 19 16 202 20.2
9 Satori XL UK 21 14 21 19 19 37 19 17 18 16 201 20.1
9 Airheads CH 22 14 19 17 18 44 16 16 18 17 201 20.1
11 Evolution CA 21 13 22 18 15 43 15 15 19 15 196 19.6
12 Airbus FSZ Saar DE 21 14 17 17 16 45 15 14 18 15 192 19.2
13 Tanay Wolves RU 22 14 18 17 16 35 17 14 18 14 185 18.5
14 Rotor Out AU 21 13 18 14 16 32 13 13 18 14 172 17.2
15 Team X SE 17 10 18 16 14 36 15 13 18 12 169 16.9
16 Phoenix XP US 17 12 17 14 15 37 16 12 14 13 167 16.7
16 Boomerang Betty AU 19 11 18 14 15 32 15 13 17 13 167 16.7
18 CTR Optimum BR 19 10 17 15 13 31 14 14 18 13 164 16.4
19 Fuzion Voltige CA 17 9 18 14 15 34 14 13 14 13 161 16.1
20 Papea Masculino ES 17 13 18 13 13 28 14 14 13 12 155 15.5
21 Skynamite DE 19 12 16 14 14 27 13 12 15 12 154 15.4
22 Out of the Blue Project 20+ NL 16 11 13 14 15 28 15 15 14 12 153 15.3
23 Meraki ZA 14 11 14 14 13 28 12 12 14 12 144 14.4
24 New Zealand NZ 10 9 12 11 10 21 7 11 10 11 112 11.2
25 Paraguay PY 10 8 10 7 9 17 7 8 10 8 94 9.4
26 Cyprus CY 13 8 9 8 7 19 7 8 9 5 93 9.3
Weembi Mix at the FAI Indoor World Cup 2018

TURNING POINTS: French Girl Power

That is not the end of the story, and it is also not meant to be another input for the discussion of the dubious gender separation in 4-way Formation Skydiving competition. It gets even much better and becomes very impressive.

Two of the Aerodyne Weembi Girls, Sophia Pecout and Christine Malnis, have also been training with another team at the same time, the Weembi Mix, with 4-way Open Class world champions Julien Degen and Roy Janssen in the lineup. Weembi Mix is only an indoor team, at least at this point in time, and they scared the Belgian indoor and outdoor world champions already at the World Challenge 2018 in April with a serious challenge.

Arizona Airspeed competed at the World Challenge too and did not even have a chance against the two boys and two girls from France. NMP PCH HayaBusa barely got away by four points (349 - 345) in Bedford.

Weembi Mix was back in action shortly after the outdoor world meet in Australia, when most of the best indoor experts in the world traveled to Bahrain for the FAI Indoor World Cup 2018 in October, including the reigning Belgian indoor world champions. Guess what happened: Yes, the Weembi Mix lineup with, Sophia Pecout and Christine Malnis, won the meet and are currently the best 4-way indoor team in the world.

Christine Malnis and Sophia Pecout
Get it: Sophia Pecout and Christine Malnis are the world champions in 4-way Women with the French national team in this category, and they are also the best 4-way indoor competitors in the world, together with their male team mates Julien Degen and Roy Janssen. Chances are not too bad that they could also win an outdoor world championship with the Weembi Mix lineup.

I have never explored the rules to find out if a female 4-way competitor could actually win gold medals in 4-way Women and 4-way Open. That's obviously not possible for a male 4-way competitor, but I don't see a reason why the rules should not allow such a scenario, even though it would be bizarre.

Formation Skydiving competitors may win medals in 4-way and 8-way at the same event - why not in 4-way and 4-way, or 4-way and VFS, or 8-way and VFS, etc.? Practically, it has happened only once in the sport's history, when current French national coach Mathieu Bernier won gold medals in 4-way and 8-way in Menzelinsk 2010.

Alright, impressive enough by Sophia Pecout and Christine Malnis, but it still becomes even better and even more impressive.

FAI Indoor World Cup 2018
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open/Women Combined K,17,J,21 4,H,F,11 18,L,16 5,M,O,C N,8,P,19 6,9,10 D,12,15 Q,B,G,22 20,E,14 7,3,2 Total Avg
1 Weembi Mix MF FR 34 35 31 57 33 31 30 39 29 26 345 34.5
2 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE 35 35 27 47 33 31 31 38 28 28 333 33.3
3 Amnesya IT 30 28 24 46 26 27 21 30 24 24 280 28.0
4 IFS-Moscow RU 28 29 21 45 26 27 21 33 24 25 279 27.9
5 Echochamber SE 30 30 23 37 27 25 22 32 22 23 271 27.1
6 France Odins FR 29 26 21 37 28 25 19 27 24 23 259 25.9
7 ACM Weembi UK 26 26 23 36 27 25 23 28 20 21 255 25.5
8 NFTO UK 27 26 20 37 25 23 22 29 22 23 254 25.4
9 China CN 27 23 22 32 25 22 20 29 24 23 247 24.7
10 Russian Thunder RU 24 22 20 36 23 24 22 28 21 22 242 24.2
11 Papea Masculino ES 25 24 14 35 23 22 17 29 21 20 230 23.0
11 France FR 26 23 20 36 24 19 19 26 17 20 230 23.0
13 Team X SE 24 26 18 31 22 21 16 27 20 19 224 22.4
14 China CN 22 20 20 28 23 22 18 24 20 21 218 21.8
15 HF Chicks CZ 25 23 15 26 23 21 17 24 21 21 216 21.6
16 Monaco MC 22 23 16 27 22 22 19 25 18 18 212 21.2
17 FlySpot Sky4Four PL 23 25 16 27 22 20 17 23 19 18 210 21.0
18 Satori UK 24 19 18 31 18 20 18 23 18 19 208 20.8
19 HF Flying Circus CZ 21 23 19 28 20 19 17 22 17 18 204 20.4
19 Eros UK 22 23 17 25 19 19 19 24 18 18 204 20.4
21 Out of the Blue Project 20+ NL 24 19 18 30 20 18 15 23 17 18 202 20.2
21 Zero-G RU 22 22 17 27 20 20 16 22 16 20 202 20.2
23 Jazz Republic ZA 19 23 16 28 20 19 17 24 15 17 198 19.8
24 No Limits RU 22 20 18 28 20 20 12 22 17 17 196 19.6
25 Bahrain 1 BH 17 23 15 25 14 17 15 23 18 15 182 18.2
26 Equinox LT 17 15 14 20 17 16 12 17 17 17 162 16.2
27 Papea ES 19 18 12 17 17 14 15 19 10 14 155 15.5
28 Sky.... CZ 15 18 10 16 16 16 14 19 16 13 153 15.3
29 Bahrain 2 BH 13 14 12 18 14 15 14 17 15 16 148 14.8
30 Zephyrus UK 12 12 10 16 13 12 10 17 11 13 126 12.6
4-way Women awards at the FAI World Meet 2018 in Australia
They both had to get prepared for their gold medal events with two different teams, and they needed much of the available time for indoor and outdoor training with Aerodyne Weembi Girls to win the outdoor competition in Australia with their team mates Clementine Le Bohec and Pamela Lissajoux. Then they had to switch back and forth between the two different lineups to use enough of the remaining time for the indoor training with Weembi Mix.

I have never done something like that, but it must be difficult enough to be ready for the different physics and dynamics of two different teams, especially when switching back and forth between the male and the female style of 4-way competition. I can only imagine that the style MUST be somehow similar enough to make it possible at all. I am not even talking about technical details yet, and both teams do NOT have the same coaching...

Is that impressive enough? It's still not the end.

Most of the outdoor teams who competed at the world meet in Australia did not follow up with the indoor world meet in Bahrain for many good reasons. Only five of the 19 teams attended both events. The transition from one meet environment to the other is not easy, even though outdoor teams usually train in wind tunnels on a regular basis.

4-way Open awards at the FAI Indoor World Cup 2018 in Bahrain
HayaBusa member David Grauwels explained the specifics of the transition, which is even more challenging on a high performance level. His team had decided to be good sports anyway and face the toughest indoor opponents in Bahrain. Sophia Pecout and Christine Malnis had to master the same transition and also get in tune and synch again with their indoor team mates, who came fresh and rested to Bahrain.

They mastered both tasks and won two FAI gold medals within three weeks, one in 4-way Women in Australia and one in 4-way Open in Bahrain. They would have won bronze medals for France in 4-way Open in Australia, too. However, the French 4-way Open Class team, Aerodyne Realfly, with Laurence Fugen in the lineup, took care of that.

Fact is still that the French national team in 4-way Women outscored the 4-way Open Class team in Australia while winning the gold medals in their category, and that Sophia Pecout and Christine Malnis added the Open Class indoor gold medals in Bahrain.

Okay, that's enough. I am glad that I am not the French national coach who has to decide who competes for France in which category...

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