The Skydiving Magazine asked the NSL News for team pictures of DeLand Fire and Sinapi PD shortly after the event. The latest Aerodyne Newsletter mostly covered the performance of the Norwegian national 4-way team Arcteryx at the Shamrock Showdown under the subject: "Arcteryx on track". The Norwegian team is sponsored by Aerodyne.
At the Shamrock Showdown over the weekend of 18 and 19 March they reached a milestone, breaking the 20-point barrier over 10 rounds by scoring an average of 21.3 points. It won them third place behind the two favorites for the gold medal in Germany, Deland Fire from the US and Sinapsi PD from Italy. Arcteryx also set a new Norwegian record scoring 40 points round 4. Congratulations, Arcteryx, for these out standing performances!
The Shamrock Showdown event is the opener of the Florida Skydiving League season and with the presence of foreign teams that hold their winter camps in Florida, it has become a test ground for the top teams to see where they stand.
Team captain Ole Petter Hjelle reports: “When we started jumping with Aerodyne gear two years ago, we were averaging between 15 and 16 points, so we have come a long way. Hard work definitely pays off! To do 800 plus team jumps a year we need to have 100% confidence in our gear. The last thing you want to worry about when you are about to launch a 4-way at 10 500 feet, is your equipment. The smooth and consistent openings of the Mamba and the incredible comfort of the Icon give us the confidence to focus 100% on our training.
Norway became used to winning medals at the World Meets when the "DeLand Norgies" with Lise Aune, Carl-Erik Tuv, Torstein Valen and Pal Kolbenstvedt had made it to the top of the world, based on great support by the Norwegian sports association and the passionate efforts of the team members.
Bronze medals at the World Meet in Australia 1999 (19.1), in Spain 2001 (20.6) and France 2003 (20.6) rounded up Norway's medal collection. However, as close as the DeLand Norgies had made it to the gold medal position as the consistent challenger of the French and US teams, the 3rd place was still the best position they could get to before this line-up retired after the Mondial 2003 in France.
However, it was impossible for Norway to replace a whole bronze medal winning team with an adequate new line-up. It would be a long road for the new team from nowhere to the position where the DeLand Norgies had brought Norway's 4-way competition at the end of 2003.
They called themselves Arcteryx and got upset when anybody called them the Norgies. They planned to leave their own mark rather than sharing the glory of the previous line-up. And yes, it is true, Tore (24) and Oyvind Buer (28) are brothers and have not been in the sport for very long.
Three of the Arcteryx members, Ditta Valsdottir, Ole Petter Hjelle and Oyvind Buer had their competition debut at the April meet of the Florida Skydiving League in 2004 and posted a 15.7 average after six rounds. National coach by then, Lise Aune, filled the slot of the missing brother Tore in Lake Wales.
Acteryx did not have to be concerned with any qualification issues as the national team. The Norwegian skydiving association and the national coach select the team members in harmony with the team. Once the team has been selected, it does not have to go through a qualification process any longer and receives the support of the association.
Arcteryx competed once again a month later at the FSL April meet in Lake Wales and got a confidence booster at the right time. The fast competition draw allowed the team to finish the 6-round meet with a 20.7 average.
The trip to Russia was also on the 2005 agenda, and the meet average for 10-round events continued to go up for Arcteryx. The 17.1 average at the Malevsky Cup 2005 was a new record for this line-up, and only the US teams (DeLand Fire, Airspeed Odyssey and Velocity, Fastrax), Sinapsi PD, the Russian teams and Belgium's Spa Hayabusa finished ahead of Norway.
It was obviously only a matter of time in October 2005 when the Nowegian team would break through the 20.0 benchmark average. The 2005 season was over, and the FSL Shamrock Showdown 2006 would be the next competition for Arcteryx. Not much more left to say, as the results speak for themselves. It was a fast competition draw last weekend, however, there are more indications that the Norwegian team surely is "on track".
Facts are also that Arcteryx has passed a world class team like Fastrax and has moved closer to the very top of the 4-way world.
The only question left is: "Arcteryx on track to where?" Is it really possible that this team might continue to move up into the underdog position for medals at the World Meet in Germany this year?
The numbers seem to speak for this possibility, as the progression chart clearly shows. However, only time will tell. Arcteryx will once again be in Florida for the FSL April meet, and the World Meet is scheduled for August 2006.