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Did You Know...

... that Gary Smith stepped onto the Malevsky Stage to receive the fourth gold medal?

Gary Smith with DeLand Majik at the award ceremony of the Malevsky Cup 2004
posted Jul 10th, 2005 - Gary Smith is the Outside Center of DeLand Fire. He won the bronze medal with the South African 4-way team Equanimity in 1997, moved to the USA and formed DeLand Majik in 2001. Majik won the 4-way gold medals at the World Championship of Formation Skydiving in Croatia 2004.

DeLand Majik with Gary Smith won the Malevsky Cup in 2002, 2003 and 2004. His new team, DeLand Fire, was formed at the end of 2004 and left the rest of the 4-way field in the dust at the Malevsky Cup 2005. It was the fourth time for Gary Smith that he climbed up onto the Malevsky stage to receive the gold medals and the check.

NSL News interview
Gary Smith works as a full-time coach and was busy with meet debriefings in the morning of the award ceremony and celebration day in Stupino, Russia. However, the NSL News was able to find a few minutes of spare time with DeLand Fire's player coach for an interview after the competition.

NSL News: DeLand Fire won this competition by 12 points over the team in second place. How do You explain this?

Gary Smith: We stuck with a plan for the meet and other teams made more mistakes around us.

NSL News: What was the Fire plan?

Gary Smith: We tried to be as relaxed as possible. We had no caution in any jump. We just went for it. We tried to skydive freely on each jump.

DeLand Fire with Team Fastrax after round ten at the Malevsky Cup 2005
NSL News: That seems to make it even more difficult to avoid mistakes. Why were there so few, if any at all?

Gary Smith: Once we are in our rhythm, we find that we make very little errors. We came here, and we knew we were undertrained. It would not help to look at things, we just had to go. Blocks that were a problem we executed very well. This happened since we did not talk about it before the jump.

NSL News: DeLand Fire won over the Golden Knights, DeLand Majik, Fastrax and Sinapsi PD at the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2005. Now You completed the business with the rest of the best teams in the world. What is Fire's secret to this success?

Gary Smith: We obviously focus on ourselves, and we try not to worry too much about what the other teams are doing. They are all very good teams, and we believe any team could win. So there are too many teams to focus on one.

Team mates Gary Smith and Natasha Montgomery in Russia
NSL News: All the other teams say that they focus mostly on their own perfomance, as well. There must be a difference?

NSL News: We know what they score, but we also know what our own strong and weak points are. To be honest, we talk mostly about our strong points. Mainly, I think we are very relaxed. Why? I have not figured yet. We are very relaxed, and I can feel that in freefall. We enjoy being around each other, and this carries through into freefall.

NSL News: DeLand Fire was formed at the end of 2004. How much have You trained so far? What is the plan for the rest of the season?

Gary Smith: We made 450 jumps and will do, hopefully, another 100 before the USPA Championship 2005.

Gary Smith with the 4-way world trophy Excalibur at the Majik party in DeLand 2004
NSL News: Did the ongoing success surprise Yourself?

Gary Smith: Yes, for sure. I knew we would be good, but I did not know we would be that competitive.

NSL News: Joey Jones used the term "Majik style" in an earlier interview with the NSL News. Can You explain the Majik style?

Gary Smith: With Majik, we never felt we changed under pressure, especially in freefall. On the ground, it is different with each person. But once Majik got into the air, it was 99% that we skydived the same way.

DeLand Fire at the Malevsky Cup 2005
NSL News: Gary, You have Natasha in Your team with the lowest experience level of all current 4-way contenders. Ian broke his arm this year in April, Shannon and Ian are traveling all over the world for swooping, You for coaching, and You also have a wife and two young children at home. How do You explain the success of this DeLand Fire line-up?

Gary Smith: I have always got on well with Ian and Shannon and respect their talents as skydiviers, but even more so their personalities and friendship. They have a lot of experience from former teams and we communicate very well together. Natasha has proven herself. She has incredible talent and potential and has shown she can perform as good as anybody out there. We respect each other's agendas and private lives, and with that respect we really get on well. When it comes time to skydive, we skydive hard.

DeLand Fire receives the medals and trophy at the Malevsky Cup 2005 award ceremony
NSL News: How do You see the US competition in 4-way this year? What do You expect to happen in Perris in September?

Gary Smith: We all know that six teams can win medals, and after the Fastrax performance we have to believe that any of the six teams can win the gold. Whoever is better on the day...

NSL News: Can You talk about the international situation, please.

Gary Smith: It is strange to know that France will not have a team in 2006, which opens the door obviously for another country into medal centention. It is strange but also very exciting. I am not sure what will happen with Sinapsi PD's scenario, but I am sure that Italy will field a strong teamn, no matter what happens. Belgium has shown that its team is ready. Norway has a big year ahead of the team, and Arcteryx will do its best to centend for a medal. The Sky Panthers have shown that there is a lot of potential in Russian 4-way, and hopefully Russia will resolve their national issues and put its best team forward.

Family man Gary Smith
NSL News: You were just on the Malevsky stage for the fourth time with the fourth gold medal, and 10,000 people were cheering for You. How do you like this event?

Gary Smith: It is amazing. The organization is unparalleled to any event I have ever seen or witnessed in the skydiving world. I have always felt honored to be surrounded by such good team mates in jumping with DeLand Majik, and now the same with Deland Fire. It is definitly a team achievevemt, and not and individual success.

NSL News: What will the future bring for Gary Smith?

Gary Smith: I love competing, but as life goes on, I obviously have to think about my family and future, as well. Although I know that I am close to the end of the competition career, I want to keep it going as long as I can.

NSL News: Thank You for the interview, Gary.

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