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Up Close & Personal
name: Pete Allum
education: High School, Diploma in Sports Psychology
family & marital staus: Married
number of jumps: 27,500
years in Sport: 42
teams: Symbiosis, Blipverts, Mo, Air Time, Ricoh, Team ’97, Sebastian XL, Sinapsi
slot(s): Inside Centre for 4 years, Outside Centre for 5 years, Point for
favorite competition: Australia '99 FS and CP South Africa 2009
funniest moment in skydiving: Popping out of the clouds at 1500’ about half a mile over the sea whilst trying to put a fake red nose on my face for a demo.
skydiving mentor(s): Mum and Dad, daughter, girlfriend, Symbiosis, Scott Meek, Jack Jefferies, Dan BC and my team mates.
hobbies: Surfing, Snowboarding, Cycling
favorite book(s): "Sacred Hoops" - Phil Jackson, “Peaceful Warrior" - Dan Millman, “Gormenghast trilogy" - Mervyn Peake
favorite music: Huge spread of styles from Trance to House to Rock to Classical, it just has to be quality music made by people who are passionate.
favorite movie(s): I like inspirational movies like “Chariots of Fire or “The Insider, also surf/snowboard/mountain bike movies
favorite place: Wherever I am when I am living life to the fullest.
Where will you be ten years from now? In a house by the sea and mountains, skydiving, surfing and teaching/coaching.
best kept secret: I lied about my age to start skydiving earlier.
"Be ready at any moment to sacrifice who you are, for what you might become..."
- Teddy Roosevelt
In 1984, at age 20, he became one of the first people in the UK to hold an AFF rating: “I attended the course in Raeford, North Carolina. It was a great experience and a total inspiration. Having taught static line for so many years, I knew that AFF had to be the way forward. The Golden Knights were there training, and the whole trip felt like a movie. I was experiencing all of the places and meeting some of the people I had only read about in the magazines. It left a deep impression on me."
1985 launched the beginning of his obsession with competitive relative work. He was asked to join Symbiosis, the most successful British team at that time to compete in 4-way at the British Nationals. The team fared poorly in the event but joined with another 4-way team and won the 8-way event without one practice jump. It was the beginning of a 5-year commitment to his new team, MO, which resulted in one of the most successful 8-way teams in British history.
Pete Allum attended his first world meet with MO in 1985 in Yugoslavia at age 21. The team subsequently went on to compete at the next two world meets, their best placing being 4th in 1989. Scott Meek was their coach, and Allum attributes much of his views on structured training and professionalism to Meek’s example: “He was a great coach and a real inspiration. He also gave me the Teddy Roosevelt quote which I still use today." (see sidebar)
In 1991 MO was one of the countries invited to the first formation skydiving competition ever to be held in Russia. They won a bronze medal.
“After my first world meet in 1985, there was a great party. Two teammates and myself went back to our accommodation, but the journey seemed very long. We decided to ‘borrow’ a boat to cross the bay to our hotel. We rowed for a very long time without going very far, until the local police showed up and fired a few shots over our heads. They waded out and brought us back, where we found that the anchor was still down! We gave false names and were let off with a caution to avoid an international incident."
“After the world meet in Australia I thought that I might give up skydiving. I traveled and surfed for two months before returning to Sebastian. I realized then just how much I loved jumping. Whilst some of the team took a 6-month break from training I did 800 jumps. I started to learn how to freefly, coached lots of teams, surfed and had a really good time. I felt like a kid again about the sport."
Sebastian XL with the help of their sponsors and the BPA are aiming to make the world meet in Spain in 2001 their best ever performance. Pete is also a highly sought after 4-way coach. He just recently finished a 3-week camp with an Australian 4-way team hoping to win their Nationals. He has coached many National squads and fills his time between training by coaching teams of every level. He speaks fluently in several languages and has been known to coach two different nationalities in their own language at the same time whilst juggling chainsaws standing on his head:
“Last year I began a Sports Psychology diploma with Newcastle University to improve my coaching skills. The course has given me a further understanding of mental training and peak performance coaching. It is very exciting to take new ideas and put them into practice with my teams. I have been in the sport for 21 years, but there seems to be always something new and exciting to learn. I competed in the freefly event for the first time this year at British Nationals with my teammate John McIver, we won a bronze medal and I was stoked! My goal is to continue with the same desire and passion into the future. I would also like to put more back into British skydiving and will start a long term plan to encourage new teams to excel."
His team's goal in 2001 was to finish with the best XL performance ever. The 19.0 average of the World Meet 1999 in Australia (4th) was the benchmark. The 19.9 average in Spain 2001 was the highest XL average, while the 4th place was once again short of a medal position that the DeLand Norgies stole for the second time. XL added two more years.
The XL average went up to 20.5 in France 2003, but the Norgies won the bronze medals for the third time - one single point ahead of XL. Pete Allum decided to retire, and XL did not come back in 2004.
He focused on family and his professional and popular coaching servives (Inner Rhythm Coaching and thought that he was done with active 4way competition. It did not last very long...
He was working a lot in Italy, and the national team Sinapsi PD eventually offered him a slot when team member Marco Arrigo retired. He had Italian residency and citizenship and was eligbile to compete for Italy after sitting out at the World Meet 2004 in Croatia.
Arianna De Benedetti stepped back after winning the bronze medal, and Sinapsi had a year off in 2007. The Spin Team competed for Italy in France 2008, while Sinapsi was preparing for a comeback with a new lineup. The British addition to the Italian team had worked well for Sinapsi, and Pete Allum's XL team mate Steve Hamilton was also ready to leave his UK history behind.
Livio Piccolo, Luka Marchioro, Pete Allum and Stefano Hamiltoni won the Italian Nationals in 2008 and followed up with new bronze medals for Italy at the World Cup 2009 in Prostejov. The 21.4 average was the highest Italian average at an IPC event in history.
Then it seemed like Pete Allum was really done with active competition, even though he came back every year for the annual XL reunion at the World Challenge in Bedford. The XL tunnel experts were still challenging the best 4way teams in the world at the indoor meet.
It still was not over yet with Pete Allum's outdoor career. Italy's new national 4way team Ex3mo had bad luck right before the Mondial Dubai 2012. Placido Udine was badly injured in a car crash shortly before the world meet. Coach Pete Allum was filling the slot, and Ex3mo finished with the best team average of the year (19.9) in Dubai. Pete Allum was back as Ex3mo's coach at the World Cup 2013 in Banja Luka.
Pete Allum is currently living and coaching full time in Empuriabrava, Spain, either in the wind tunnel or at the DZ.
He says that he is "still absolutely in love with this sport and still learning something new every day".
That's Pete Allum. He is one of the most experienced Formation Skydiving competitors and coaches in the world and in the history of the sport - and he is still learning something new every day.
He enjoys his life in Empuriabrava, with the sun, the sea, the mountains, and a skydiving center that offers everything he needs to continue best what he has been doing best in the last 35 years...