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Did You Know...

... that three Airspeed members could have joined Mathieu Bernier this year?

Inside center and Point in 2016: Arizona Airspeed
posted Jul 9th, 2022 - There was another aspect in the many topics that the NSL Live Talk with Arizona Airspeed's Niklas Hemlin included on June 15th. It was touched at the end of the conversation and was not related to the previous topics of his position as a competitor and coach.

It was more a personal question that went back to a recent crossroad and a decision that he had to make. In fact, he was not alone in a situation where the Airspeed members were setting up the plans for the near future. Mikhail Markine, who is actually Airspeed senior member together with Niklas Hemlin, was in the same situation.

Niklas Hemlin and Mikhail Markine have been in the Airspeed lineup together since 2016, after Niklas Hemlin's Airspeed comeback with the 2015 lineup. He had spent two years with the 2011/2012 lineup that concluded with FAI 4-way gold medals in Dubai 2012. It took him two years to recharge the batteries before his Airspeed comeback, this time in the point slot, with Thomas Hughes, Chris Farina and Thiago Gomes in the new lineup, Justin Price on camera.

Former SDC Rhythm XP member of 2013 - 2015, Mikhail Markine, replaced Chris Farina in 2016 and had his own one year in Airspeed's point slot. Niklas Hemlin went back to inside center where he won his first world championship title in 2012.


Pre-Nationals 2022: Expanded, Extended and Open for all Teams


Recent NSL Live Talk with Arizona Airspeed members
Arizona Airspeed's current lineup
Mikhail Markine took back his tail slot that he had with SDC Rhythm XP when Thiago Gomes left the team at the end of the 2016 season, and he is still in the same slot, now as one of the most experienced tails in the history of the sport.

Niklas Hemlin switched to outside center at the same time, and together ever since they have managed front and rear pieces both with their vast 4-way experiences. Chances are better than ever that they may win FAI 4-way outdoor gold medals together this year, after silver in 2016 and 2018 behind NMP PCH HayaBusa and then missing the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020, where SDC Rhythm XP competed for the U.S. delegation.

Niklas Hemlin and Mikhail Markine both were in Tanay for the outdoor world meet though. They won an 8-way gold medal with Airspeed XP8, and they even had a third current Airspeed member in the 8-way lineup, Christopher Kuhlmann, who had replaced Matt Davidson a few months before the competition.

The NSL News question for Niklas Hemlin was related to the situation after Tanay in August last year. Arizona Airspeed's current lineup had to make plans for 2022, after qualifying as the U.S. national 4-way team at the USPA Nationals 2021 and the coming FAI Outdoor World Meet in October.

The NSL News covered this decision comprehensively, which gave 4-way training and competition exclusively the top priority. It would take Airspeed's complete focus on 4-way to take back the world's top spot from NMP PCH HayaBusa, Belgium's combined indoor, outdoor and CISM 4-way world champions since 2014.


Shamrock Showdown 2022
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total Avg
Rank AAA Class G,Q,12,C K,N,P,18 L,2,20 F,1,5 7,3,19 10,6,D B,H,16,13 J,E,A,4 14,O,8 11,22,15 Total Avg
1 Arizona Airspeed US 29 33 23 29 23 24 -1 27 32 22 20 262 26.2
2 NMP-PCH Hayabusa BE 22 24 -1 18 -1 23 -1 20 20 23 30 17 15 212 21.2

Arizona Airspeed - NMP PCH HayaBusa at the Shamrock Showdown 2022
Niklas Hemlin, Mikhail Markine and Christopher Kuhlmann with Airspeed XP8 at the FAI Tanay Mondial 2020
Arizona Airspeed laid out the plan for the near future before a very unexpected situation changed things in Belgium. Andy Grauwels, original HayaBusa member and reigning 4-way world champion since 2014, announced at the end of the 2021 season that he would not continue. Dennis Praet, Jeroen Nollet, Michele Silvi and David Grauwels, now in the video slot, had to find a new team member, which was comprehensively covered by the NSL News, as well.

All of a sudden, Arizona Airspeed's new lineup did not even seem to have serious competition any longer on the top of the 4-way world, as the scores at the Shamrock Showdown 2022 were clearly showing, confirmed at the FAI Indoor World Cup 2022. The road to 4-way gold medals became much easier than expected, unless Gary Smith can fire up the Qatar Tigers in the few months that are left until the outdoor world meet.

At the same time, the new XP8 lineup does not seem to have any opposition on their way to defending the 8-way gold medals successfully, as France is not fielding a strong 8-way team, and Russia will probably still be banned from participation. It could have been a perfect opportunity for Airspeed's three 8-way world champions (Niklas Hemlin, Mikhail Markine, Christopher Kuhlmann) to join Mathieu Bernier and win double-gold in 4-way and 8-way at the same event. Niklas Hemlin explained at the end of the NSL Live Talk why he has no regrets looking back at the situation in hindsight.

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