USA sweeps the board at first ever FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships in the heart of Copenhagen

Christian Webber_i_aktion_ved_Swoop_Freestyle_VM_2_foto_Juan_Mayer.JPGUSA skydivers cleaned up at the first ever FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships, which were held in the heart of Copenhagen over the weekend of 25-26 August 2017.

David Ludvik (USA) took the FAI Gold Medal, while teammates Nick Batsch (USA) and Curt Bartholomew (USA) were in silver and bronze positions.

The competition saw 18 of the world’s best Canopy Piloting (Swooping) skydivers take part, performing at an over-water venue in the centre of downtown Copenhagen, Denmark.

The action was broadcast live to the world via FAI’s partner the Olympic Channel, and 100,000 spectators watched on the ground.

The FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017 was the first FAI-sanctioned Swoop Freestyle World Championships ever held, and follows a new collaboration between the FAI and a specialist sports company, A. Sports.

The high-impact, adrenalin-fuelled discipline of Freestyle Canopy Piloting is known as Swooping, and involves parachutists flying at high-speed across a ‘Swooping Pond’ to score points based on style and execution.

Whereas Canopy Piloting events are typically held on airfields and parachute dropzones away from city centres, the new FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships take place in locations chosen to attract maximum exposure and public attention.

George Blythe, the CEO of A. Sports, said: “We are extremely proud of this first ever FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championship. It was really well organised and attended by over 100,000 spectators. It was a two-day urban parachuting festival in downtown Copenhagen that went out to the entire world online. It's been a perfect weekend with a very exciting final.”

After an intense and close final round Ludvik won by less than a point. Free concerts, street food, wingsuit displays and bungy-jumping from a 60-metre crane created a festival atmosphere in the heart of the city.

FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel said: “Congratulations to the winners, and to all the competitors, for an excellent event. Thanks to the organisers A.Sports for putting on a great competition, to the City of Copenhagen for its great support, and to all those who contributed with their Parachuting expertise.”

She added: “We are looking forward to continue working with A. Sports to make the FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships a big success.”

The FAI’s role is to sanction the FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships and help develop the rules. Other responsibilities that the FAI and the FAI Parachuting Commission (IPC) hold include:

  • Assisting in the appointment of qualified judges
  • Appointing an international jury and jury president
  • Provide technical staff
  • Helping with scoring and ranking
  • Providing advice regarding medals and trophies
  • Social media and reporting

The FAI and A.Sports signed a three-year collaboration agreement earlier in 2017. More events are planned for 2018 and beyond.

Key Points

  • Event: FAI Swoop Freestyle World Championships 2017
  • Gold: David 'Junior' Ludvik, USA - 141.95 points
  • Silver: Nick Batsch, USA - 141.86 points
  • Bronze: Curt Bartholomew, USA - 140.29 points
  • Training and Swoop Night Lights Friday August 25, Qualifying and Finals Saturday August 26 2017.
  • Location: Peblinge Lake, Queen Louise's Bridge, central Copenhagen.
  • 18 parachute pilots from 10 countries.
  • The first Swoop Freestyle World Championships sanctioned by the FAI, World Air Sports Federation

Photo credit: Juan Mayer