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Did You Know...

... that the French perspective was the missing piece between 2001 and 2003?

France 4-way 2000-2004: Julien Dosantos - Marin Ferre - Erwan Pouliquen - Davide Moy
posted May 21st, 2020 - The recent NSL News updates of events in the past and from the unpublished archives of the time period between the world meets in 2001 and 2003 covered mostly the U.S. teams on their way to the qualification for the 2003 event at the USPA Nationals 2002, where the Golden Knights eventually upset Airspeed Vertical's reigning 4-way world champions of 2001 and DeLand Majik both.

The DeLand Norgies, FAI bronze medalists of 2001, were also a part of the same 4-way history, which was presented by interviews with some of the team members that had not been published earlier.

There is a missing piece of this time period though, which is partially covered in Jerome David's NSL Profile. It is the French national 4-way team that was rebuilt by coach Jerome David after winning the 4-way gold medals at the FAI World Meet 1999.

The new lineup with three returning members (Marin Ferre, Davide Moy, videographer Laurent Pechberty) plus Julien Losantos and Erwan Pouliquen, had given Airspeed Vertical already a tough 2-point battle in 2001. The three medal winners (U.S.A. - France - Norway) then continued for two more years with exactly the same lineups.


FAI World Meet 2001
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open Top 10 8,19,24 A,L,22,H E,10,D,11 21,6,4 B,18,C,14 G,5,20 2,1,16 M,K,12,9 15,23,P O,17,Q,N Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed  US  19 25 21 19 20 20 20 23 17 30 214 21.4
2 Maubeuge  FR  19 20 20 18 21 21 19 23 20 31 212 21.2
3 DeLand Norgies  NO  19 22 20 18 19 19 19 21 18 31 206 20.6
4 Sebastian XL  UK  17 22 20 17 18 19 19 21 18 28 199 19.9
5 Endeavour  CH  14 17 15 14 14 16 15 17 13 26 161 16.1
6 Sinapsi PD  IT  12 13 17 15 15 15 14 19 15 24 159 15.9
7 Germany  DE  13 13 15 15 16 15 14 18 13 - 132 14.7
8 Russia  RU  13 17 14 13 14 14 16 15 13 - 129 14.3
8 Belgium  BE  14 14 14 13 14 14 15 17 14 - 129 14.3
10 Japan  JP  14 14 15 14 16 13 11 17 12 - 126 14.0

The French part of the story became even more interesting when national coach Jerome David decided to try what Arizona Airspeed had missed to accomplish in 1999 and 2001: Winning gold in 4-way, and then also in 8-way with the same 4-way lineup in the 8-way team. Airspeed had won 8-way gold in 1999 and finished 2nd in 4-way.

Airspeed Vertical tried again in 2001 and won 4-way gold by two points over the new French lineup, while Airspeed's 8-way team placed 2nd behind Russia. Arizona Airspeed has never tried again to win double-gold ever since.

France was new to the same challenging goal before Jerome David thought that he had the right combination of talent and experience beginning in 2002. He had his new and strong 4-way team (Marin Ferre, Davide Moy, Julien Losantos, Erwan Pouliquen) and recruited Paul Grisoni, Martial Ferre, Eddy Bens and Manu Sarrazin for the 8-way lineup.

The new French 4-way team was showing at the Valentine's Meet 2002 that they were not far behind the reigning 4-way world champions on their home turf at Skydive Arizona. They followed up later in France with a new 4-way world record for a single round (42-pointer for B-F-L-A-N) and were on even level (221) with DeLand Majik (224) Airspeed Vertical (222) at the FAI World Cup. The new French 8-way team won in Spain, and Jerome David seemed to be on track with his double-gold goal.


Valentine's Meet 2002
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank AAA Class 5,3,H 1,P,K,14 13,11,D C,12,8 19,M,17 G,J,9,20 L,O,4,F 2,10,22 15,Q,18 16,7,A Total Avg
1 Airspeed Vertical US 21 19 21 19 19 -2 25 28 16 19 24 211 21.1
2 Perris Maubeuge FR 20 19 19 17 21 24 25 17 19 23 204 20.4
3 Golden Knights Gold US 20 19 19 18 22 23 24 16 17 21 199 19.9
4 Airspeed Zulu US 18 17 17 17 18 21 -2 0 13 -2 16 18 155 15.5
5 Golden Knights Black US 15 -1 15 12 12 15 16 -1 15 -1 12 14 13 -3 139 13.9
6 Endeavor CH 12 11 -1 10 -2 12 12 15 17 9 -2 13 15 126 12.6
7 AZ Inertia US 10 11 11 7 -2 11 4 -2 12 9 9 11 95 9.5
8 AZ Delirium US 7 -2 10 7 -1 8 -2 10 -1 9 -4 13 9 8 -1 13 94 9.4

4-way awards at the FAI World Meet 2003
It looked even better for France after the world cup in 2002. The two U.S. 4-way teams in 1st and 2nd place in Spain would not even compete for the U.S. delegation a year later, and France was nine points ahead of the Golden Knights after nine rounds. The Golden Knights did not get to complete Round 10 after the second cut. The 2002 test for the double-duties was very successful, as well, when the French 8-way team won their meet.

A year later, on French home turf in Gap, the 4-way team lived up to all expectations and took back to France the William H. Ottley Sword for 4-way Formation Skydiving competition, also known as the Excalibur, with a 15-point victory.

However, the opposition in 8-way was much stronger than probably expected. The FAI World Cup 2002 had not brought the two strongest 8-way opponents to Spain. The French 8-way team won the competition over different teams from the United States and Russia. Neither Golden Knights nor Majik Airspeed would compete in 2003, and Russia came with a much stronger lineup to Gap a year later.

France ended up in 3rd place, and the first French double-gold challenge had failed. National coach Jerome David tried again in 2008 and missed by one single point in 4-way this time, after winning the 8-way gold with the complete 4-way lineup in the 8-way team. Eventually he won all four Formation Skydiving events (4-way Open, 4-way Women, 8-way Open, VFS) in Menzelinsk 2010, where Mathieu Bernier became the one and only competitor in history with gold medals in both events at the same world meet. Jerome David retired as the national coach after the French FS Sweep, and Mathieu Bernier is currently trying to win double-gold in 8-way and 4-way Women in the same position as Jerome David.


FAI World Meet 2003
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank 4-way Open 1,11,12 M,J,E,10 K,16,6 13,14,5 D,22,4 9,C,Q,N F,19,21 2,20,L 18,B,3 8,P,7 Total Avg
1 Maubeuge  FR  16 26 23 19 21 37 24 21 19 23 229 22.9
2 Golden Knights  US  17 24 22 19 18 35 22 18 19 20 214 21.4
3 DeLand Norgies  NO  13 24 21 19 18 36 19 16 19 21 206 20.6
4 Sebastian XL  UK  14 22 21 19 17 34 21 18 19 20 205 20.5
5 Sinapsi PD  IT  13 24 22 17 17 32 22 18 18 - 183 20.3
6 Endeavour  CH  13 21 19 15 17 29 21 17 16 - 168 18.7
7 NMPV  BE  15 19 19 16 15 29 19 16 16 - 164 18.2
8 EADS  DE  14 19 17 15 15 26 17 16 16 - 155 17.2
9 Wild Wind  RU  15 22 18 15 18 22 17 8 - - 135 16.9
10 Phenix  SE  13 18 15 15 16 23 18 16 - - 134 16.8
11 Spain  ES  12 17 14 15 17 23 16 14 - - 128 16.0
12 Denmark  DK  6 19 14 12 14 23 17 15 - - 120 15.0
13 Japan  JP  12 16 14 12 13 24 14 14 - - 119 14.9
14 Netherlands  NL  11 16 14 13 13 21 15 11 - - 114 14.3
15 Australia  AU  11 14 12 13 13 23 15 12 - - 113 14.1
16 Bailey 5  ZA  11 10 14 11 13 19 15 13 - - 106 13.3
16 Monkey Circus  AT  11 13 13 13 8 20 16 12 - - 106 13.3
18 Canada  CA  11 15 13 11 12 18 12 12 - - 104 13.0
19 Slovenia  SI  10 12 11 9 9 16 13 11 - - 91 11.4
20 New Zealand  NZ  8 11 9 7 10 16 10 11 - - 82 10.3
21 Skyservice  CZ  5 8 9 7 5 11 10 8 - - 63 7.9
22 Israel  IL  1 3 2 4 4 7 3 4 - - 28 3.5

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