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However, the news that Belgium had won the first gold medals spread around the world so quickly that Solly Williams even got the word while he was traveling from Russia to Florida. He was wondering on his flight what happened in 8-way since this information did not come around so quickly:
"I am wondering what's up with the 8-way competition. Does the very talented combination of Germany's top 4-way teams stay ahead of the better trained Italian team? We must remember that over the last 18 months or so Germany has had two 19+ 4-way teams that decided on trying some 8-way."
Here comes Solly Williams' complete summary of the event.
The final meet average doesn't reflect the pace these guys are doing. A memory glitch caused a major breakdown, with no plan to move forward or re-build the team lost valuable time. Hopefully we will see these guys in France next year.
There was also a strong showing of British teams putting out some decent 4-way competition jumps. Those guys always know how to have a good time with plenty of smiles in the camp. Seems to be a re-shuffle in the top rankings of British skydiving, and their nationals are coming up very soon. Not sure who we'll see in France next year. The British 8-way, coached by Martin Soulsby, was having the meet they wanted to when I left.
In DeLand Majik we used to call this the "zigzag L" and used it extremely cautiously and very selectively. Now, that was with a 2-point bust system back then, so I realize things have changed to a degree in terms of risk and return. Truth be told, eventual winners Belgium had their own problems with this random set up and got off very lightly from the judges in what could have changed the outcome of the meet for them.
In my opinion, the jump should at least be viewed twice in this situation, as it's not always easy to be correct on the clock start on the first go. Yes, I do know the system is programmed to have a mean parameter, but it still doesn't cut it when two judges say in and three out (or vice versa for that matter) when there is the luxury of at least one more viewing.
While the meet was well run, including the usual manifest, general piloting and dz facilites etc. the disparity in standards of the hotels that teams stayed in should be addressed. Perhaps the difference can weigh in on registration fees in the future. Lets give the old Okker hotel a rest, please. For the kind of money being asked in registration this doesn't cut it, and I can vouch that the hotel seems to have only deteriorated since my first trip there in 2002.
I don't mean this disrespectfully to the new medal winners. They posted very competitive scores indeed. Things will be different next year with this prediction, but it's based on the change of exit and jump plane. France and Belgium will be in more confident form getting out of a Pilatus Porter, and the tables will turn on the US teams in this regard.