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Up Close & Personal

name: John McIver

email: john-mciver@sky.com

age: 58

education: Brookway High School, Manchester UK - qualified Electrician

family & marital staus: Partner Judi, three daughters: Megan (18), Josie (17) and Damsy (12)

number of jumps: 16,000

years in Sport: 36

teams: Sebastian XL, Satori

slot(s): Center Inside, Tail

favorite competition: World Air Games in Japan, XL reunions at World Challenge

skydiving mentor(s): Pete Allum, XL teammates, Derek Thomas, and many more

hobbies: Mountain biking, road riding, surfing, having a good time

favorite book(s): Sports / Adventures

favorite music: Most music, Led Zeppelin

favorite movie(s): True Romance, Office Space, Drive Angry

favorite place: Scotland and the Alps for riding

Where will you be ten years from now? "Hopefully doing the same stuff. If Dane Kenny can do it - so can I!"

best kept secret: Met the Queen

John McIver John McIver
John McIver started skydiving in 1987, at the Tilstock Airfield, Sport Parachute Centre. He joined a few mates on a static-line round course. They jumped from a Helio Courier, and John didn't enjoy the first jump due to being really scared. All he remembered was that it was very loud:

"The pilot, Robbie Cooper (RIP), was a pretty mad pilot and he was making aggressive turns onto jump run. Luckily for us the instructors were really keen for first timers to carry on progressing through the system."

The first jump course was also where John met his partner Judi who was one of the instructors.

XL over Sebastian XL over Sebastian
Over the years John McIver has been on many teams. The longest lasting one of those was Sebastian XL who started out as Team 1997 and was formed in 1995 with a plan to be ready to compete at the World Meet in 1997.

The idea was to have approximately two camps per year plus some weekends. However, Pete Allum, Toby Stafford and John McIver decided that they would really like to do more than that:

"We made a big decision to up sticks and move from the UK to Skydive Deland in Florida. This meant we left behind Craig Hill, who had a business to run. Chris Lynch then joined the team in Florida to complete the original XL lineup."

1999: New home in Sebastian 1999: New home in Sebastian
John gave up his job as an electrician and got himself a ticket to Florida. Judi staid in England to rent out their house. Then she followed John a few weeks later with Megan and Josie who were still babies at that time.

John McIver arrived in DeLand with $50 cash and the promise that he could use a small trailer and pay some rent once he would start making some money. His first job was as a packer, then he started doing a little bit of 4way video.

20.5 average at the last XL outdoor meet: World Meet 2003 in Gap, France 20.5 average at the last XL outdoor meet: World Meet 2003 in Gap, France
During this time he and his XL teammates traveled to Skydive Sebastian to speak with DZ Operator Andy Grimwade about the possibility of getting sponsorship for his team. John McIver said that he will never forget the night of this discussion:

"It was probably every 4way jumper's dream - we left with the promise of pretty much unlimited jumps per year. In return we would have to coach and organise events at the DZ."

His current team is Satori. He joined the team as a player coach in 2009 and remembers how Satori inspired him to move on: "Little did they know, but at that time I was considering giving up skydiving altogether. However, their raw enthusiam rekindled my love for 4way."

XL's 13.0 starting average was the beginning of the XL story. There were many changes and upsets over the years before John McIver arrived at the magic 20-point average with XL at the World Meet 2003 in Gap, France. The lineup included Pete Allum, Steve Hamilton and Thomas Hughes by then.

XL then disbanded, and John McIver now looks back with second thoughts: "My biggest regret, in retrospect, is that we didn't stay together for a couple more years, as I don't feel we realised our full potential."

Satori lineup at the ESL Championship 2009 Satori lineup at the ESL Championship 2009
Eventually, Satori has beed dominating 4way competition in the United Kingdom since John McIver joined the team and won his 13th UK gold medal in 2011. He is proud of this success and still doesn't feel any different now to how he felt after winning his first gold medal: "Maybe I feel a little bit older..."

John McIver is now as much a seasoned coach as he is one of the most experienced 4way competitors in the world. He thought about what kind of advice he would give to someone who aspired to become a national champion. He believes that the focus on core flying skills is as crucial as fitness and flexibility. He added that there is additional homework: "You also have to become an expert at analysing 4way videos. I still spend hours studying top team footage..."

He is currently enjoying his coaching work for the Satori Academy teams, which have seen some great progression. He has also worked with SonicNutz in 2011 and enjoys watching another British 4way team moving up to the top level. He thinks that the standard of British 4way jumping has significantly improved, and the statistics support that: "There are now so many more teams competing at the national championships. Having three wind tunnels in the UK has definitely helped, as has the increased number of available professional coaches."

13th UK gold medal for John McIver in 2011 13th UK gold medal for John McIver in 2011
John McIver is one of them, together with his Satori team mates. They run the Satori Academy project together, which started off with Julia Foxwell and Aaron Faith running one-on-one skills camps at Skydive Spain and Hibaldstow. They decided last year to expand the Satori Academy and include 4way teams in each of the four NSL categories.

The coaching project has been successful, and Satori has been running large spring training camps in Spain where all the Academy teams train together. John McIver sees the benefit in the fact that there are four coaches present, all skilled in a particular slot:

"All partcipants can draw on expertise that pertains to their individual position." He said that the Academy project is going to continue in 2012 with tryouts starting towards the end of the year.

Outside of his skydiving life John McIver has mainly his family and his bicycle:

"Life outside skydiving mainly revolves around family life - and as much mountain biking as I can fit in."