Back in The Games
I have been involved in The World Games since 1994, when the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) first applied for membership with the International World Games Association (IWGA). Three years later, in 1997, FAI had three different parachuting/skydiving disciplines on the official sports program of the fourth edition in Lahti, FIN.
Accuracy Landing Men and Women, Freestyle Men and Women and Mixed 4-Way Formation Skydiving were the four medal events held at the Jokimaa horse racing center, a perfect venue in every sense.
The FAI delegation stood out from the opening ceremony, with all 90 members dressed in a t-shirt that had AIR SPORTS ABOVE ALL OTHERS emblazoned on it. And while a group of parachutists descended upon the Lahti Sports Centre during the ceremony, even the IOC President, HE Juan Antonio Samaranch, and the Finnish IOC member Peter Tallberg had their eyes turned skyward.
What truly amazed the local public, as well as the athletes and officials of the other sports, was how FAI delivered the competitive performances in the skydiving events to the judging panel for assessment - and to the spectators for more general appreciation. Through live transmission of a video signal in a ultra high frequency, the spectacular imagery came off the freefall videographer and was broadcast live to the many TV monitors set up throughout the stands at the race track. Scores and rankings were shown there too.
What truly amazed the local public, as well as the athletes and officials of the other sports, was how we delivered the competitive performances in the skydiving events to the judging panel for assessment - and to the spectators for more general appreciation. Through live transmission in a ultra high frequency, the spectacular imagery came off the freefall videographer and was broadcast to the many TV monitors set up throughout the stands at the race track. Standings were shown there too.
1997 Lahti was my first experience with The World Games. And it turned out to be hard work for months. Luckily I was able to share the load with Olli Luomo of the Finnish Aeronautical Association. I believe we excelled with how parachuting/skydiving was presented to the world at large through these games.
FAI (and its Parachuting Commission, IPC) had tried very hard to be in the Olympic Games of Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992, and even of Atlanta 1996. Through the campaigning, FAI/IPC managed to get a part of of its message across on all three occasions. But in The World Games an AIR SPORT was able to make its statement full-length. To a captive audience.
Over the next days I will be in Birmingham, USA, for the 11th edition of The World Games. With a much lighter workload this time around, I should have time to post regularly on this and another blog.