Competitors' stories - Mondial Dubai 2012

Dubai skyline

With final and confirmed entries from 58 countries we have competitors arriving from all corners of the world, the Americas, North (U.S.A. and Canada) and South, with the smallest delegation coming from Chile with 2 and Brazil with 58 the largest ever from that continent and from the far side of the world, Asia contributing four delegations, China with India, Singapore and Thailand entering a 1st category event for the first time.

The largest ever Australian delegation of 59 is accompanied by its neighbour New Zealand whilst Europe has representation from almost every country in that continent from Ireland in the west to Kazakhstan in the east, including Turkey.  Not forgetting the Nordic countries, and Russia and the now independant countries that were formally in the USSR.  Africa is sending us delegations from the Republic of South Africa, Morocco and Egypt and in the “home” region of the Gulf along with our hosts the United Arab Emirates there are delegations from Bahrain, Oman and Qatar and the newest member of the FAI, Jordan.

Each team, and each individual competitor, have already achieved their first goal – that of being selected to represent their country, many for the first time, others like Abraham Lasschuijt, from the Netherlands has been “there” before.  Entering his first World Championships in 1974 in Szolnok Hungary, at 66 has made the national team for Accuracy Landings in Dubai 2012.   He would be in competition with Cheryl Stearns, USA (Accuracy Landings & Freefall Style) for the greatest number of years range of national representation, although in terms of the number of 1st category events attended, there is no doubt that Cheryl Stearns is the winner.

I wrote to each delegation asking for their stories, and as I receive them, I will update a competitors “blog” for all to read.




Australia – my first response was from Stephanie Campbell who wrote:
“More than happy to help, especially since I've just launched the new Australian Parachute Team website .. .. The website includes athlete profiles, latest news, team trivia, athlete diaries, team photos and video footage, social media feeds etc.  You can visit the website at: http://wpc.apf.asn.au


Italy – 4-way open team:  “I'm Silvia Carloncini, wife of one of the member of theItalian RW4 national Team EX3MO. They are the new Italian champions since 2011, after the previous champions, the Team Sinapsi, stopped competing (they've been 10 times the Italian National Team and won a lot of competitions all over the world: best result a 2nd place in the Mondial in Germany in 2006). Well, after this, my husband, Massimo Fiorini, Team videoman (he has 14.900 jumps): he was previously in the Sinapsi Team, but he loves too much skydiving and competition to stop it!

The Team is composed of Ivan Quadrio, Placido Udine, Fabio Lorenzetti, Mario Fattoruso, this last one is also a competitor in the Swoop discipline, one of our best and more complete athlete in Italy.

The team is relatively young, in fact two of the members entered the team just two years ago, but the EX3MO project started for the RW8 competition several years ago and has been 6 times Italian champion for this discipline, conquering the 3rd place in the World Cup in 2006 and 2007, in the European Championship in 2007, and in the Mondial in 2008. Last season the Ex3MO team entered the World Cup in Germany, where the team arrived 6th and 5th in the European Championship, the same position they had this year in Czech Republic, where they really haven't been lucky... They aimed to the podium, but the competition turn wrong at the 2nd jump, when Placido Udine at the moment of the exit remained attached to the door of the Let400!!! Really a bad position! The others during the free fall where really worried for him, that fortunately he was pulled back in by the Russian team still inside the airplane, because otherwise he wasn't able to free himself! The fact obviously changed the humour and the concentration of the team.. and it has been really a bad competition...

Now, they are trying to train themselves as best as possible for the Mondial in Dubai, to improve their result, but the Italian authority - Aeroclub Italia - has not really enough money for the aim.. so they have continuously looked for a sponsor, to make 200 more jumps before the date of the competition. At the moment the team is training in Portogallo, Algarve, and at the beginning of November they'll be in Empuriabrava for a second stage. Last jumps will be held directly in Dubai the day before the start of the competition.

About personal stories: Well, I'd have really liked to be in Dubai with my husband, we have had a son last year in May, so I lost all the competition in that period, before I always used to be with him, because I jump too, or.. I used to... but now I pregnant again!!! and our daughter should arrive the 20th of November, so Massimo will leave immediately after having seen his daughter.. hoping everything will go well!

The other guys on the team: well, Mario Fattoruso is a nice young man who hasn't for now a family of his own, but he has a brother who also competes in swoop, with good results in Italy, and a father who has been and still is a great trainer and skydiver. Ivan Quadrio, the team leader, has a fiancé, Elena Piva, who also jumps and does RW4 competition as a beginner. Placido Udine and Fabio Lorenzetti have both a wife, and I think Fabio Lorenzetti has 2 children, but not 100% sure.

The team is coached by Pete Allum, a great skydiver and competitor (and winner!), now representing Italy as Swoop competitor! (Previously he has been in the Sinapsi Italian National Team)”.

Canopy Piloting  : from Giuseppe Crott. I will participate in the World Championship in Dubai.I was the first time in Dubai January 2011 for the canopy piloting competition and I represented Italy as Overaa National Champion 2010-2011. Since I was the first time in Dubai I really liked and loved this beautiful place.  Many of the guys that jump here I knew since long time and the quality and professionally of the instructor is very high. So when I came back from my first Dubai championship I told so well to the Italian friends that in February I came back for 15 days with a group of 10 Italians skydivers and they felt in love like me for your DZ.  In November 2011 I came back again to compete again for the canopy piloting championship and all was nicer and better and awesome.
So we came back again this year in January and this time I brought with me 28 Italians skydivers to discover your DZ and all was great.  So in one year I spent 2 and a half months in Dubai and I hope to be there more often. We should see us next November... in the fantastic sky of Dubai.


Denmark :  Formation Skydiving 4-way Female : from Kathrine Pontoppidan
“For the first time, Denmark will be represented in the female 4way category. Another constellation of the team competed in the Dubai competition two years ago and has since then been selected to become the Danish National Female Team in FS.

The team consists of Kate Cooper-Jensen (world-known organizer), Nadja Lønnroth, Vibeke Birk Tiedemann, myself and Kim Jensen (male) on camera. Our alternate is Mine Petersen and our coach is Torben Tiedemann, who also competes in Canopy Piloting.”


Finaland – Artistic Events – Freestyle
“Team name:    FinOne       Founded:        2000
Finnish Nationals                2001 bronze and 2002 silver
World Championships        2004 9th
European Championships   2005 4th
World Championships        2006 8th
Finnish Nationals                2007 silver
World Championships        2008 7th
World Championships        2010 5th
World Cup                           2011 5th
European Championships   2011 4th
Performer:        Katja Larinen    Videographer:    Matti Mertala”


Great Britain – Formation Skydiving - 4-way Female from Sarah Smith Cannon:
“ I am a member of the UK female 4 way team. Our story is slightly unusual for two reasons, one being that we will have only been together as a team for two months by the time the World Championships comes around and the other being that our camera flyer, Alan Thompson is deaf.

Alan was born profoundly deaf, and is now one of the few skydivers fluent in sign language, and the only one I know of representing his country at a world level. (In the female category of 4 way formation skydiving, the camera flyer can be male or female.)

The reason this team will only have been together for two months is that the original team that qualified a year ago and trained all year disbanded due to personal issues, so three of the original team decided to recruit two new skydivers to complete the line up so that they could still have the opportunity of going to the competition in Dubai. The team will train as much as they can in the short amount of time available, in the UK wind tunnel Bodyflight Bedford and at Langar DZ in the UK. The UK female teams have won gold at the World Championship competitions for many years, so it would be a shame for the UK to not even be represented in this category, especially at what will be the biggest Mondial yet.

This team is made up of myself (Sarah Smith Cannon) Sian Stokes, Laura McLelland, Helen Arnold and Alan Thompson. “



Sweden – Formation Skydiving – 4-way Female from Åsah Helenius

"Team Fire started jumping together 2011 with the goal to be the first team in 10 years to qualify as Swedish National Female 4-way team. To do this we needed to reach an average of 13 in competition, which we accomplished in the summer of 2012. Our main motivation is to have fun while evolving our formation skydiving skills and at the same time inspire younger and less experienced skydivers and help strengthen skydiving as a sport in Sweden. At our side we have our coach Joey Jones and our packer, massage therapist and slap-in-the-head-get-your-act-together-mental coach Lena Jones.

Annica Carlsson is the Center Inside. She has been jumping since 1995 and claims that she is 42 years old. Annica works as a quality developer at ICA, Sweden’s leading Retail Company. She is also a trained chef and sometimes lets the rest of the team get the pleasure to try out some culinary delicacy that she’s whipped up. Moreover, Annica is an experienced skydiving instructor who has long since lost track of how many static line students she has kicked out of a plane.

Helena Hanses is the Point of the team. She started jumping in 1997 and has since then earned a number of gold medals in the hardcore skydiving discipline 10-way speed formation. Helena is always in full control of all the practical things that need to be solved in a 4-way team and ensures that we always find our way to where we’re going, no matter what country we’re in. She is 34 years old, lives in Borlänge with her cat Sessan where she also work at the Swedish steel making company SSAB.

Åsah Helenius is our Center Outside. She started jumping in 2001 as part of her military training. Åsah is also 34 years old and lives with her two cats Sensei and Samurai, who accompany the team on our training and competition tours around Sweden. She works as an officer at the Swedish Armed Forces Helicopter Wing in Linköping, and is also an instructor as well as a member of the Swedish skydiving association’s safety and training committee. Åsah has also competed in Accuracy, and is the Swedish Female Champion in Skeleton 2011 and drives our rental cars all over the world fast and safe.

Elisabeth “Bettan” Wetterlund is the Tail of the team. She has also been jumping since 1995, is also 34 years old and works as a postdoctoral research fellow at Linköping University, doing research in renewable energy. Since she has a documented skill of talking more or less constantly, works with writing stuff and practically lives on the internet, Bettan has found her niche as the team’s communicator and writer. Bettan is also an experienced skydiving instructor and likes to pretend she has a dog, Ronja. The dog is real, it´s just not hers.

Elof Wecksell is our Camera Flyer. Elof started jumping in 2005 and is with his 27 years of age he is the youngster of the team. He works as a Non-commission Officer in Enköping where he also lives. He is also a tandem camera flyer and a true master at catching our exits and keeping us in frame. He is an important player in the team, not least if one of us cut away since he is also a rigger. Elof is also great at all kinds of work that includes graphics or film editing and always has at least one film project going, why he can sometimes be found at strange places looking for the perfect camera angle.”

Canopy Formations - 2-Way Sequential  - Team 1 sent by Lars Eriksson


"We are three guys from the north of Sweden so jumping in Dubai is sweet for us that are used to cold weather and -20c when jumping out.   Henrik Norin works with a little of everything, the best way to describe him is a hunting woodsman that live in the deep woods - Lars Eriksson work as a project manager at a web agency while Jonas Nilsson spends his time running a construction supply shop.  We usually spend our time in conditions like the last image, this is from last christmas eve when we greet children with candy from above."



The Netherlands – Accuracy Landings from Abraham Lasschuijt

“I am around in that circus for a long time: my first WPC was in 1974 in Szolnok Hungary and ever since I have done many many (Military) World Championships, World Air Games and Paraski WCP' s, all around the world.  Unfortunately I never won, but now, being a little older, I agree with the slogan " participating is just as important as winning" !  Also this year ( at the age of 66) I made the Dutch classic accuracy- team, I will be competing in Dubai at the next World Meet. It is not a new DZ for me, I participated the last 4 years  in the UAE during their International Competitions.
The fun thing of being around for such a long time is, that today I meet a lot of officials from various countries, who were competitors once.... :) and are now judges, meet directors, teamleaders, HoD' s etc.etc.
Years ago I competed f.i. with Helmut Schlecht, Muhammed Yousuf, Gerd Weckbecker, Douglas Peacock, Jean Dermine, etcetc.
The scrapbooks I have maintained since 1968 show me wonderfull pictures: in 1974, there was only 1 square canopy competing...!”


Brazil – Delegation from Fabio Pelayo

“I’m sure this will be a huge and excellent event.
Some athletes have already participated on a FAI First Category event, but I believe for the most of us will be the first.  Myself have just participated in 2 Second Category Events, DIPC 2011 and World Games Event Test 2012.
And I think this will be the biggest Brazilian’s Delegation Ever. We will participate in all categories with a total of 58 person delegation.”


New Zealand – Formation Skydiving – 4-way Female & Canopy Piloting from Lynette Warn

“Our NZ team consists of a female 4 way RW team and 2 CP boys.
We are a small country with limited chances to compete at an international level. Both of our CP boys are full time tandem instructors and none of the girls team work full time in the sport, apart from the camera girl (myself) I work at Skydive Dubai and have volunteered to film the girls for the first time when they arrive in Dubai as they do not have their own camera person. The 4 way girls team "The Flying Ferns" will have only had one training camp prior to arriving as the team have only just recently got a new team member after loosing a member about a month ago.  The Flying Ferns girls team is only the second ever female team from NZ. In 1999 "Rapid Descent" was the first girls team to compete at the World Champs in Corrowa Australia. (I was a member of that first girls team)”


Finland -  Accuracy Landings and Para-Ski – from Timo Toionen  and www.ttsport.fi

“Parachutist Timo Toivonen is a world-class competitor accuracy, which is a jump in addition to representing the Finnish national team in the weight lifting! Uttilainen program service entrepreneur thrives in competitive sports, but also climbing and diving on. Timo brings to Halti osaamistansa mm. Outdoor collection development project.”

…. More to follow :  Susan Dixon : 1st November 2012