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Did You Know...

... that France has a different way to build teams that win 4-way gold medals?

4-way gold in 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1993: Philippe Schorno and Eric Fradet (from right)
posted Jul 12th, 2019 - The first outdoor competition in France this year, the Coupe de France, has started, and the two new lineups of the national 4-way teams in 4-way Open and 4-way Women are posting their first outdoor scores.

The NSL News reported with earlier updates that the main focus of both teams is the national 8-way team that they are forming together. However, there was a little bit of 4-way training during the first 8-way camps this year, and both teams can enjoy a 4-way competition weekend in Lyon. No 8-way competition is scheduled for this event.

The recent NSL News coverage of the lineups of the best 4-way teams in the world and their changes over the years now continues with the French national 4-way teams. The team roster story of NMP PCH HayaBusa and Arizona Airspeed were the beginning of this series with the update on June 14th, followed by a closer look at SDC Rhythm XP on July 10th.

The French team story begins with the 4-way Open Class event, which has a much longer history compared to the 4-way Women. FAI/IPC introduced 4-way Women as a competition at a world championship first time in Spain 2001. The story of the French 4-way Open Class lineups begins in 1985, when FAI/IPC introduced the current rules and regulations for 4-way and 8-way competition. It still focuses on the same time period that was the topic of the earlier stories, 2011 - 2019.

Team development of the French national 4-way Open Class teams between 2011 and 2019
French FS Sweep in Menzelinsk 2010: Philippe Schorno - Manu Sarrazin - Jerome David
France organizes the national teams in Formation Skydiving competition in another different way, compared to the strategies that were described in the stories that covered Arizona Airspeed, NMP PCH HayaBusa and SDC Rhythm XP.

The teams are not recruiting their own team members. The French skydiving federation appoints a national coach who is in charge of the teams with training plans, budget, lineups and other logistics. The French national coaches have traditionally been former successful members of the national teams.

Philippe Schorno, 4-way world champion of 1987, 1989, 1991 and 1993 has been the national coach for the 4-way VFS teams. Jerome David, 4-way world champion of 1991 and 1993 was guiding the French Formation Skydiving delegation to the FS Sweep in Menzelinsk 2010. He was succeeded by Jeremie Rollett, 8-way world champion of 2006 and 2008, 4-way world champion of 2010, and his former team mate Mathieu Bernier is currently in charge.

The history of the French lineups in 4-way Open between 1985 and 2010 is showing that the national coach and his teams have mostly worked together for longer time periods, which produced a lot of 4-way Open Class gold medals. In fact, each lineup that staid together for four years won at least one gold medal, and several team members continued with a new lineup when the previous national team was done. Philippe Schorno and Eric Fradet are the leaders with four gold medals, followed by Marin Ferre and Davide Moy with two.

Team development of Arizona Airspeed and NMP PCH HayaBusa between 2011 and 2019
Current French 4-way Open Class team in training action
There is still no guarantee that a 4-year plan for the same lineup produces gold medals. The French lineup of 2015 - 2018 (Laurence Herve, Kevin Mansion, Damien Gouriou, Charles Rommel) was facing very strong opposition and a HayaBusa lineup that had just won their first 4-way gold medals in Prostejov 2014.

Three HayaBusa members continued with new tail Jeroen Nollet, while France had only Damien Gouriou coming back from the 2013/2014 lineup. Arizona Airspeed's lineups in the same time period (2015 - 2018) were very strong too, and France ended up with two sets of bronze medals in 2016 and 2018.

Damien Gouriou is now in his 7th year for France in 4-way Open with the third different lineup, and with national coach Mathieu Bernier who was his team mate in 2013 and 2014. He and his other team mate of 2015 - 2018, Kevin Mansion, continue the French tradition of mixing up two experienced 4-way competitors of the previous lineup with new team members, Aurelien Lemaire and Alban Rumolo now and until at least 2020.

However, national coach Mathieu Bernier is not expecting gold medals from his 4-way Open Class team. He wants to win the 8-way competition next year and defend the 4-way Women gold medals successfully. The new lineup with three reigning world champions and former alternate Gaelle Giesen, Julie Fournier on camera, are competing at the Coupe de France this weekend and lead by one point after Round 3...

Team development of the French national 4-way Open Class teams between 1985 and 2010
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