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Did You Know...

... that there have been several smaller battles within the meet?

New Zealand team in Croatia
posted Sep 23rd, 2004 - The event management moved very quickly when the weather allowed jumping for a short time in the later afternoon on Wednesday. The 4-way Open Class teams had to wait for a while before the first call to the plane came. Round eight would be an important round not only for the medal contenders. Only the best ten teams of the 21-team field would make the cut and move on into the quarterfinals of round nine.

On the other hand, the competition for the last cut position in 10th place was not really close. Teams had already settled in their slots throughout the earlier rounds. Spain's team Empuriabrava Red Bull was nine points ahead of South Africa in 11th place. It would be impossible for South Africa or any other team to pass the Spanish team.

Iceland team with Ditta Valsdottir
Thus, round eight was the last jump and the final for the 11 teams that would not make it into the semifinals. There was still open business in the many little battles within the field. Even though South Africa would not make it into the semifinals, the team was a part of an intense battle of four teams for the 11th place. The UK team, Australia and Stratosfear from Canada were only five points away from each other after eight rounds.

Australia had actually not been a part of this 4-team competition from the very beginning. The Aussies' lowest score of the meet in round one put the team in the third lowest position with only Iceland and Kazakhstan behind. The uphill battle for Australia was successful and consistent and was rewarded with the 13th place.

Viewing screen in Rijeka
The tough competition in this group of teams pushed the Canadian team Stratosfear to new heights. The 13.9 meet average after eight rounds is a new Canadian record average. The team was much aware of this situation before the final round. Team videographer Rick Epp explained that the Canadians needed a nine-point score for the new record, while he was dubbing this jump. Stratosfear scored 12 points, and the mission was accomplished. The jump can be viewed on NSL-TV. Congratulations to Stratosfear.

The next group of teams competed very hard for the 15th place and consisted of Netherland's R-Fource, Austria's Matrix and the team from New Zealand. The Dutch and the Austrian team knew each others scoring level after several meets of the European Skydiving League. New Zealand's performance was unknown until Croatia.

Aussies keep themselves warm...
Matrix had been a part of the 4-team competition one level up until round seven when two penalties reduced the Austrian score from 15 to 11 points. The tight competition in this area of the field threw Matrix down and into the group with the Netherlands and New Zeland. It was too late to make it back up, and Austria ended up tied with R-Fource in 15th place. New Zealand finished one point behind both teams in 17th place.

The remaining teams in the 4-way Open field competed for the best scores. Croatia, the home team, finished with an impressive 12.3 meet average. Slovenia improved the average the team had posted at the Malevsky World Cup 2004 (7.1) by more than three points (10.6) and wins the honor of the most improved national team.

...while the sun sets
Kazakhstan attended a World Championship of Formation Skydiving for the first time and managed to leave the team from Iceland behind with a 4.4 meet average. The team from the farthest country in the north had a special fan. Ditta Valsdottir, member of the Norwegian national team Arcteryx, was born and raised in Iceland. She was right there and cheering when it was time for the Iceland team to get ready for boarding. Each competition has a team in last place, and Iceland had the honor in Croatia this year.

The sun was already on its way down when the best ten teams continued the competition with the semifinals of round nine. In fact, the judging and viewing on the large screen outside was coming along with the most beautiful sunset of the week. Many of the cameras went back and forth between the screen and the sunset. The evening temperatures are on the lower end in Rijeka. Some of the Aussies kept themselves warm with adult beverages and showed everybody that it really helps while waiting for the next jumps on the screen...

German team EADS
Neither round eight nor round nine brought any changes in the medal rankings. DeLand Majik added two more points to the lead over France, one point per round, and has clearly secured the gold medals. Italy and Russia tied their scores in both rounds, which keeps the Sky Panthers in third place and one point ahead of Sinapsi PD.

Only the best six teams would continue into the finals and make round ten. However, the semifinal round nine would not change the rankings any longer since the situation was the same as for the qualification to the semifinals. Germany's EADS and Belgium's Hayabusa had both already created enough distance to the teams behind them. It was obvious that round nine would be the last jump for Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and Spain. These four teams would use round nine to settle the last open business within this group of teams.

Slovenia - the most improved team
All four teams scored within one point and maintained their positions. Only the new and young Norwegian team Arcteryx scored one point lower with 13 points than Switzerland, Denmark and Spain with 14's. This only meant that Norway would now have to share the 7th place with Switzerland's Endeavour.

Germany and Belgium moved on into round ten and the finals. Hayabusa tried once again to reduce the distance to the German team EADS and succeeded by winning back one point with the third highest score of the round. Majik's 19 was the highscore, France, Russia and Italy all had 18 points in time, Russia and Italy lost two points due to penalties for a score of 16 points.

Hayabusa could have had a much tighter race with the German team had they not lost too many points earlier in the competition. While the German scores page is the cleanest of all top teams with no deductions at all, Hayabusa has lost a total of 11 points with penalties and non-judgeables. However, the penalties are a part of the game, and Hayabusa now uses the last jumps to show where they could have been. Rounds six through nine were very close between Germany and Belgium, and Hayabusa has won back two points.

All teams are on a weather hold Thursday morning. Stay tuned.

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