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Up Close & Personal
name: Christy Frikken
education: BS in Computer Information Systems
family & marital staus: Single
number of jumps: 6,000
years in Sport: 22
teams: Tenacity, Arizona Audacity, Perris Exceed, Perris Fury
slot(s): Outside Center
favorite competition: All of the big ones are an absolute blast, including the tunnel
skydiving mentor(s): Dan BC, Airspeed
hobbies: Reading, video games, jogging
favorite book(s): Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan
favorite movie(s): Star Wars, Team America, Love Actually
favorite place: Any desert-like climate
Where will you be ten years from now? Stumped trying to figure out a place to store all those world meet medals.
best kept secret: I have a well developed inner-nerd.
"Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."
The Skydiving Magazine explained the reasons for the selection of a 4-way competitor as the 2007 Skydiver of the Year.
Christy Frikken is this magazine’s 2007 Skydiver of the Year because she climbed to the upper strata of competitive skydiving while taking a whole bunch of her fellow jumpers with her.
Becoming a world champion skydiver takes a full-time commitment. An aspiring competitor who’s not training is working one way or another to pay for that training. Because most regular jobs can’t accommodate an athlete who needs to spend most of his time at a DZ, competition skydivers tend to work at the DZ, where they coach, instruct or whatever.
A serious shortcoming of this arrangement is that it often effectively isolates the most skilled skydivers from the rest of the jumpers at the DZ.
When they’re training, competitors typically get to the DZ early in the morning. They’ll spend the rest of the day holed up in private team rooms, leaving only to knock out jumps and perhaps creep.
They rarely make fun jumps, and they’re usually gone by early afternoon. They certainly don’t hang around for sunset beer. And when they’re coaching or instructing, competitors’ interaction with most other jumpers on the DZ is limited.
Their relative isolation is understandable; they’re focused on a difficult goal, one that takes 100% of their time, money and energy. But this scenario does little to make the sport more rewarding for other jumpers on the DZ. Because the most skilled and confident jumpers aren’t mixing it up with everyone else, the quality of everyone else’s dives usually suffers.
Frikken showed it doesn’t have to be this way. In the past several years, she devised, implemented and still oversees a panoply of programs at her home DZ that have torn down the wall between top 4-way FS competitors and everyone else. At the same time, her own 4-way team, “Perris Fury" has worked its way to the upper levels of its discipline, finishing third at the 2007 Nationals with a 21.0 average.
Without going into detail, these programs offer opportunities for jumpers — be they newbies, weekenders or fledgling competitors — to polish their skills by jumping with members of Fury or being coached by them both in the air and in the DZ’s wind tunnel. Some of the programs are free; the others are reasonably priced.
One example is the Fury 8-way project, created by Frikken and launched last year. An 8-way team formed at Perris around each member of Fury.
Each team was comprised of jumpers with compatible skills and goals. A custom training schedule for each was mapped out before the season began. And each team’s training program culminated with competing in the 2007 Nationals.
“She has managed to create, implement and oversee all these projects while training with Fury", one nominating letter said. “She is not only an asset to Perris but an asset and role model for skydivers everywhere — especially me!" The letter — its author started jumping 18 months ago — continued: “Christy is very knowledgeable, always at the DZ and always willing to help. Since before I got my license, she has frequently come up to me asking if I wanted to make a jump."
“She’s a wonderful organizer. She has brilliant ideas on fun, structured jumps and can execute them flawlessly", the letter continued. “And she’s funny, too!"
That Frikken has extraordinary aerial skills is proven by the scores Fury posts. It’s also obvious that she works hard as a full-time skydiver, but so do many others. The programs she’s implemented certainly should be embraced and duplicated by other competitors and DZs, because they’re winners for everyone involved.
By themselves, these achievements and efforts wouldn’t be enough to sway our selection panel. But for one person to accomplish them all simultaneously — and to a resounding cheers from other jumpers — made Christy Frikken Skydiver of the Year.