... that the logistics put teams and management to the test in Croatia?
posted Sep 18th, 2004 -
Let's begin with the bad news. The last day before the start of the competition had most people shake their heads and wonder how this could all work. The weather had been so bad for the whole week prior to the meet that the highest number of training jumps for the teams on site in Rijeka was two. Many of the teams that arrived early enough to use the Friday for training jumps did not get in the air over Croatia at all. A strong wind had followed the bad-weather front and did not allow any jumping. Round one of the world meet would be the first jump for these teams.
The current rules allow the meet management to begin the competition without any official training jumps. Before the rules changed, a competition could not be started before each team would have done at least one official training jump. Team leaders tried to get an exception by asking at the competition briefing for a training jump on Saturday. Safety was the concern, especially if the winds were still on the high end of the allowed range next morning. However, meet director Vladimir Gazetov was hoping for good enough conditions and did not allow any training jumps.
The winds were not only in the way for training jumps on Friday. They also destroyed the whole tent village the host had built on the field around the hangar. The planned tent village looked like a battlefield and reminded the Floridians in Croatia on the damage that hurricanes Charley and Frances created when they recently visited Florida.
These were not enough problems. Meet director Gazetov also announced that only one MI-8 helicopter would be available for the Formation Skydiving competition on Saturday and Sunday. The same jump plane would also have to get the Accuracy and Style competitors in the air. Gazetov said that two more MI-8's would arrive on Monday. However, Friday evening at the competition briefing there were a lot of doubts whether the meet could be run efficiently and fast enough to complete all ten rounds. Many locals also expected the winds to calm down only on Sunday at the end of the day, which would make it even more diffcilt.
The good news began coming this morning. The host had not hesitated to work hard on fixing the problems in the last minute. In fact, the battlefield out on the field was simply ignored, and all efforts were put into creating new homes for all the teams and beginning the jump operation Saturday morning.
It worked out. The host improvised very well and filled the hangar with little booths for the teams and competitors. The winds had calmed down much earlier than expected, and the MI-8 took off around 9 p.m. with the first teams aboard. Omniskore's Ted Wagner was able to set up the judging system early enough, and even the large screen outside on the field was showing pictures of round one. More DZ-TV will probably be set up later. Finally, the NSL News found a home for the usual operation, as well, thanks to dubbing master in Rijeka and SkyQuest participant Gustavo Cabana.
Finally, the competition itself took the deserved stage, and memories of the earlier problems and concerns faded away. Omniskore and the NSL News posted the first scores of round one almost on scheduled time. Unfortunately, many of the team videographers were not ready enough for the MI-8 ramp, and teams received several point deductions after non-judgeable images after the exit of round one.
The top competition for the gold medals between France Maubeuge and DeLand Majik began with an advantage for the US team by one point. The fast sequence with three random formations and Block 18 (Zircon - Zircon) was mastered by both teams with great scores. However, Majik was a little bit cleaner and very consistent. In fact, Majik's video was the only one in this round that was viewed only once by the judges, which proves the flawless performance.
Sinapsi PD received a penalty for a center-point violation in Block 18 and fell two points behind the Russia's Sky Panthers with a score of 24 points. The European Skydiving League Champion 2003 and 2004, Hayabusa from Belgium, completed 24 points in working time, as well, but also lost three points on the hill. The games have begun, round two is in progress, the Women's 4-way competition will be next. Stay tuned.