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Did You Know...

... that Excalibur was celebrated in DeLand last weekend?

Anatoly Zhirov and Kurt Gaebel with Excalibur
posted Oct 20th, 2004 - The DeLand skydiving community once again organised a homecoming celebration for DeLand Majik last weekend. Location was the "Perfect Spot", drop zone restaurant at Skydive DeLand. This time, the party was very special since it included the presentation of "Excalibur", the IPC trophy for the 4-way and 8-way world champions.

The NSL News had seen the sword already earlier this year. Anatoly Zhirov, former Russian top competitor, current IPC delegate and advisor to the IPC Formation Skydiving Committee, visited the dubbing station at the world meet in Croatia one day during the meet with a large box. The NSL News station was located in the same room where Zhirov was looking for a place to hide this box until the conclusion of the competition. Due to the nature of the job, NSL reporter in Croatia, Kurt Gaebel, asked Zhirov about the content of this box. The Russian official opened the box for the NSL News, and both Zhirov and Gaebel could not resist laying their hands on the most desired 4-way trophy after the box was opened.

Bob Hallett, Graham Smith and Doug Park with Excalibur
The same sword has now traveled from France to Croatia to DeLand and will remain there for two years. The next World Championship of Formation Skydiving will take place in Germany in 2006. DeLand Majik has the honor to place the sword at the "Perfect Spot", together with several other trophies the DeLand team collected in the last three years.

The homecoming celebration for Majik with the presentation of Excalibur was delayed since the team had no time to celebrate the victory in Croatia. The USPA Championship 2004 was scheduled so close to the world meet that none of the new world champions (DeLand Majik, Arizona Airspeed and Perris Synchronicity) had much time to rest or even train. All three teams traveled from Croatia to California and competed in Perris a week later.

Graham Harding with Excalibur
Majik and Airspeed both repeated their victories at the USPA Championship 2004, while Synchronicity finished tied in 7th place of the Open Class competition. All three world meet champions could not copy the top performances they had shown in Croatia. The timing and the competition draw did not allow similar scores. It was also difficult for the teams to re-focus and find the same level of motivation and energy that was needed to win the world meet.

The US world champions were fortunate that the competition in Perris was not strong enough to seriously challenge them. However, DeLand Majik and Arizona Airspeed still had to work hard enough to defend their USPA 2004 gold medals against the Golden Knights in 4-way and in 8-way. The timing of these top events is crucial for the best teams and surely did not make it easy for the US national teams this year.

Solly Williams with Excalibur
DeLand Majik was still not even complete when the homecoming party took place last weekend. Outside center Joey Jones was still on the road when DeLand celebrated the new world champions. The other Majik members on site took turns holding the sword while speaking their minds and expressing their appreciation for the support they have received. The Majik members also emphasized the important role that team videographer Graham Harding has played in the success story of the team.

Skydive DeLand owner Bob Hallett took the sword in his hands, as well, and congratulated his home team for the great success. Hallett then celebrated with the team and the DeLand crowd in his restaurant, around the drop zone and at the camp fire. Majik's Solly Williams explained that the team has not completed the considerations of the Majik future yet. Team meetings will follow, and the NSL News will follow up as soon as information will be available.

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