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Niklas Hemlin's Airspeed XP8 team mate Michelle Karamon recently pointed out that he is the only 4-way competitor in history who has posted 27+ averages with different lineups and in different slots. In fact, he was in both different pieces, inside center of the rear piece with Mark Kirkby in 2012, and outside center of the front piece with Ari Perelman in 2018.
The 2012 lineup won the FAI gold medals by one point over NMP PCH HayaBusa with a 27.9 average, and the 2018 lineup placed 2nd and two points (27.7) behind the same HayaBusa lineup.
Niklas Hemlin's 27+ averages in both pieces is not only a unique achievement. It also has an extremely important value, especially at a time when new members are joining the team. The team seniors are in a situation where they have to forward as much information and experiences as possible to the juniors. The best teams in the world are naturally experimenting with ways how to improve the performance, as there is nothing to copy and no other teams to learn from.
FAI Outdoor World Meet 2012
|Roster: Josh Hall (Point), Niklas Hemlin (Inside Center), Thomas Hughes (Outside Center), Mark Kirkby (Tail), Bill Schmitz (Video)|
FAI Outdoor World Meet 2018
|Roster: Ari Perelman (Point), Niklas Hemlin (Outside Center), Thiago Gomes (inside Center), Mikhail Markine (Tail), David French (Video)|
Point Ari Perelman was Niklas Hemlin's piece partner in 2017 and 2018, and together they went from the first defeat against SDC Rhythm XP in February 2017 to the 2-point 4-way battle with NMP PCH HayaBusa in Australia 2018.
Matt Davidson became Niklas Hemlin's new front piece partner when Ari Perelman left three months before the USPA Nationals. The new Airspeed front piece partners worked together so efficiently that they almost won the USPA gold medals after the personnel change. A few weeks later, the new lineup then won the FAI Outdoor World Cup.
Joey Marshall will now benefit from all the information and experiences that Niklas Hemlin will share with him. It will not be a big surprise if the new Airspeed front piece will show a similar progression that Niklas Hemlin had with Ari Perelman and Matt Davidson.
Mikhail Markine will fine-tune the rear-piece-flying with Chris Kuhlmann, while Niklas Hemlin can provide insights for the inside center slot. He and Mark Kirkby spent two years together in the rear piece (2011 - 2012) and finished as 4-way world champions in Dubai 2012.
Both pieces will benefit from the wealth of experiences that Niklas Hemlin collected while moving up to the 27+ performance level with both lineups. The potential and the history of bringing new team members up to speed quickly could have added to the confidence in recruiting two new Airspeed members.
Other top competitors have made similar experiences. HayaBusa's David Grauwels moved from the front to the rear piece in 2009, and JaNette Lefkowitz was outside center for SDC Rhythm XP before moving to inside center and the rear piece in 2016. However, nobody else has 27+ experiences in both pieces...