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Did You Know...

... that Spaceland Blue was missing on stage?

US delegation for 2010 without Spaceland Blue
posted Oct 24th, 2009 - The award ceremony of the 8-way competition ended with the presentation of the US Formation Skydiving delegation for next year's World Championship in Russia, as the NSL-TV clip with the story on 21 October 2009 was showing.

USPA Meet Director Scott Smith had the members of the 4-way and 8-way lineups already on the stage, as Arizona Airspeed's 4-way world champions competed and won in 8-way, as well, and then forwarded the 8-way slot to the Golden Knights. Intuitively, Scott Smith called the winner of the Vertical 4-way Formation Skydiving competition, Arizona Arsenal, back on the stage, who had received their medals right before the 8-way teams.

He presented next year's US delegation, with Arizona Airspeed in 4-way, Golden Knights in 8-way and Arizona Arsenal in VFS 4-way.

Spaceland Blue on stage during the 4-way awards
Unfortunately, he did not remember at that point in time that there was another US national team that qualified at the 2009 USPA National Skydiving Championships for next year's world championship. Or maybe some of the team members were not on site any longer. However, at least two of the Spaceland Blue members, plus videographer Niklas Daniel, were still present, as Annalise Peterson and Sally Hathaway competed in 8-way with Spaceland BFE Elsinore.

Spaceland Blue was already introduced as the US national 4-way team in IPC's female category and as part of next year's US delegation during the 4-way award ceremony. However, the US delegation on stage at the end of the 8-way award ceremony was missing an important part, as the US female 4-way team had brought home the silver medals from the last World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2008 in France.

The US female teams have been a very successful part of the US delegations ever since the event was introduced by the IPC in 2001.

Silver medals for Fastrax Blue in 2008
Lilac Hayes, Sally Hathaway, Sally Stewart and Eliana Rodriguez won the very first set of female gold medals in Spain 2001, Tony Hathaway was filming the team. Jaimie Johnson, Sally Hathaway, Jaquelen O'Brien and Kim Glover followed up with bronze medals in France 2003. Tony Hathaway was still filming his wife's team. The same lineup won the next gold medals a year later in Croatia. John Leming was on camera this time.

Elsinore Select (Kris Peterson, Michelle Carlstrom, Tammi Rettig, Brianne Thompson) came home from Germany in 2006 without any medals after finishing tied in 3rd place with Russia. The Ladybirds were ahead only after using up all tie-breaker rules. There was no time for a jump-off. It was the only time that a US female team did not win any medals at a world meet.

The US girls came back with vengeance and a new lineup two years later. Fastrax Blue (Becky Brocato, Christy Frikken, Erin Murphy and Brianne Thompson) gave the UK team Bodyflight Storm a hot race for the gold medals and lost by only one single point after six rounds.

Aerodyne Cypres Deep Blue at the World Cup 2009
Annaliese Peterson then moved in for Christy Frikken who had to go back to her real team, Perris Fury, and the new Spaceland Blue lineup began to prepare for the 2009 season. The NSL News reported already earlier this year that Sally Hathaway stepped back in for Blue when Becky Brocato needed a knee surgery and still has to sit on the side line until the beginning of the 2010 season.

Spaceland Blue still finished with the highest meet average of any female lineups in the Open Class at the USPA Nationals 2009 and qualified as the national team in the female 4-way category. The 16.6 average tied Sebastian Tempest in 9th place.

The original Blue lineup, with Becky Brocato, Annaliese Peterson, Erin Murphy, Brianne Thompson and Niklas Daniel on camera, will now have less than a year to get ready for the World Championship of Formation Skydiving 2010 in Russia. It will be a very challenging situation for the team, as the French national team in the same category already posted a 20.4 average at the FAI World Cup 2009.

Reigning world champions: Bodyflight Storm
The same French lineup finished only in 3rd place at the World Meet 2008 in France with a 19.2 average. Fastrax Blue with Christy Frikken was four points ahead of Deep Blue after the six rounds. However, the French team looks much stronger this year, as previous NSL-TV videos of the World Cup 2009 have already shown, and Deep Blue is far ahead so far as of the meet average.

Three of the US Blue members have already tasted the performance level around the 20-average last year, and new member Annaliese Peterson has all the talent and experience that it takes to get there and further. It is only a matter of time when the US Blue team will get to the point where the French Blue team was in August this year. The question is more where Deep Blue will be when Spaceland Blue arrives at the 20+ average level.

Then there is the open question what the reigning female 4-way world champions from the United Kingdom will come up with. There is a new Bodyflight Storm lineup, and this year's Pussy Galore lineup (Claire "Sparky" Scott, Hannah Betts, Tarnya Hollis, Amanda Kemp) posted a 16.8 average at this year's UK Nationals without much training at all. Both competition draws of the World Cup 2009 and the UK Nationals 2009 were not as fast as the one at the USPA Nationals 2009.

Quickly up to speed: coach Thomas Hughes
There are also the two German teams in the mix. The Chicas won the German Nationals 2009 with a 17.4 average. The young Incognito lineup was shortly behind with a 16.9 average. Both teams scored above the 16-average level at the World Cup 2009.

Spaceland Blue's 16.6 average does not seem to be much at the moment. However, coach Thomas Hughes has already proven that he can bring up a talented team very quickly to the medal level. Time and the first scores of the 2010 season will tell how the situation looks like at the beginning of the world meet season.

No matter what, Spaceland Blue will be a part of the US delegation and was missing on the stage during the 8-way award ceremony and the presentation of the US delegation.

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