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Did You Know...

... that "Gap Autrement Nice" expects a 21-point average at the World Meet 2006?

Julien Losantos
posted Apr 12th, 2006 - The NSL News story on April 5 offered breaking news. The three French 4-way world champions of the Maubeuge team in 2003, Davide Moy, Erwan Pouliquen and Julien Losantos, have re-united and formed a high-caliber line-up with Paul "Polo" Grisoni as the 4th member.

The NSL News received confirmation of this development in France from the French national coach, Jerome David, who mentioned that the team still has to win the French Nationals 2006 to qualify as the national team. The NSL News also asked the team members for additional information, and Julien Losantos provided direct feedback and details of the team plans.

France Maubeuge at the Malevsky Cup 2004
Julien Losantos began his message with the confirmation that the NSL website is also well known in France, and the NSL News was glad to receive this feedback from one of the strongest nations in skydiving history. "First of all I would like to tell you that it's a real pleasure and a honnor for us to answer to your questions! We all think that you are doing a great job with your website!"

France has also recently been considering to join the NSL/ESL network in Europe. The NSL News will soon follow up with more information. Julien Losantos then confirmed that the rumor of the new line-up is true. The new team plans to compete and win at the French Nationals 2006 and represent France at the World Meet in Germany and the Malevsky Cup in Russia.

Awards at the Malevsky Cup 2004
The three former Maubeuge members attended the Malevsky Cup already in 2004 (see NSL Archives 2004) where they fought it out with DeLand Majik for the first time before the World Meet in Croatia 2004. DeLand Majik won the Malevsky Cup 2004 by one single point over France and continued to win the World Meet later that year by eight points.

The three Maubeuge members of the new 2006 line-up began to think about the plan to form a new team at the end of last year when they realized that France will be not represented in 4-way Formation Skydiving at the next World Meet in Germany. Jerome David had explained for the NSL News story on October 27, 2005, why France would not send a 4-way team to Germany.

Gold medals at the Mondial 2003
Things changed in France between October 2005 and March 2006. National coach Jerome David updated the NSL News on March 8 and mentioned that France will now send the 4-way Open Class team that wins the French Nationals 2006. Julien Losantos explained in his message to the NSL News that members of the new line-up had encouraged the French association to change plans and send a 4-way team to Germany:

"France has always been a big nation in Formation Skydiving and in skydiving in general, and it was inconceivable for us to not see a French team fighting at the top level! That's why we requested in November 2005 to the French Federation the authorization to our team 'Gap Autrement Nice' to represent France as the French national team in Germany."

France Maubeuge after a jump at the Mondial 2003
Davide Moy, Erwan Pouliquen, Julien Losantos and Paul Grisoni were not sanctioned as the national team right away. The French Federation took five months to consider all options and decided in March 2006 that a French 4-way team will compete in the Open Class this year. This team will have to win the French Nationals 2006 first.

This means that the new line-up is not qualified yet. However, the team members know that there will be no serious competition for them in France this year. They can afford a very casual training schedule, as Julien Losantos explained:

"Well, in regards of the training, we just plan to train on three weekends in Gap during June and July for a total of 50-60 training jumps. The French Federation does not give us money for training, and we also have other plans as individuals already."

2003 line-up on the creepers
The French Nationals are scheduled for July 28 - 30 in Vannes, a skydiving center in the West of France. The team members know that this competition will most likely not be a big challenge for "Gap Autrement Nice". There is no other French team that can score higher than an 18-point average. It was different last year when the 8-way team competed in 4-way, as well:

"Last year, the French 8-way team competed at the Nationals in 4-way with two teams, just like Airspeed does at the USPA Nationals, and they scored above 20-point average. This year, the French Nationals are too close to the World Meet, and the 8-way team decided not to compete. There are some rookie teams, but they are not competitive enough to represent France at a World Meet.

New 2006 line-up with Polo
Julien Losantos did not agree to provide the NSL News with information of the 4th member in the new line-up, Paul "Polo" Grisoni: "In regards of Polo's information I'm sorry, but it's top secret! He's our secret weapon and I prefer to keep discretion about him..."

Well, the NSL News was shocked for the moment and before Julien Losantos admitted that he was not that serious about it: "Of course I'm joking." Then he provided details of Paul Grisoni's career as a 4-way and 8-way competitor.

French 8-way team with Polo in 2003
"Polo" was the team captain of the French 8-way team between 1996 and 2003. He started his first 4-way team at the beginning of the 90's with the French 4-way veteran Jérome Bunker, who used to be a member of the French TAG team, which dominated the world's 4-way competition by then.

Paul Grisoni continued for a few years with this team and also with the 8-way rookie team "Sligos". Then he joined the French national 8-way team during the complete re-building process of the French team after the World Meet in Gap 1995. Polo has now been a professional skydiver for ten years, and he works as a coach and AFF instructor. He also trains teams and individuals in the wind tunnel in Paris, and he is an instructor for the French Federation.

French TAG team in 1987
His new team mate Julien Losantos has no doubt that Polo will fit right into the slot: "Polo's now one of the most experienced skydivers in France and a very, very good friend. That's why we naturally thought of him to take the place of Marin who was not available at this time for professional reasons."

However, Julien Losantos still believes that his new team is not one of the top favorites for the gold medals this year, and he explained the reasons for a careful approach to this year's top events in Germany and Russia:

Top contender in 2006: Italy Sinapsi PD
"So, I would like to finish this by telling you that the French team is not coming to win the gold medals this year. We are going to Germany simply to enjoy our last meet together and try to get on the podium. This is not false modesty - we have too much respect for the other teams that have been training hard for two years. We really cannot claim to be top contenders for the gold medals. I did only 40 jumps last year, and I have not jumped yet this year. We will not be able to get to a 23-point average whith our 50 jumps of training, but we can probably be at a 21-point average."

Even a 21-point average would be impressive enough with this plan. The NSL News appreciates this update from France, and one of the next French updates later this year will provide the scores from the French Nationals 2006 at the end of July.

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