Photo above: Ralph Wilhelm
Not mentioning the restrictions and drawbacks in daily life, the last two years had also a very serious impact on our sport. The pandemic situation made it necessary to postpone the 2020 Mondial in Tanay, Russia for one year to 2021. That decision was necessary, reasonable and gave the teams a “light at the end of the tunnel”. Something to train for, a big skydiving family reunion when all the madness should be over. So we hoped.
However, the virus had other plans. Most dropzones in Europe are now finally open again – depending on the country you live and jump in. Also tunnel training was not allowed for everyone. Some teams were lucky and could train with minimal restrictions, while other teams are just starting to get back into the air. If you are lucky and live in a country where skydiving and especially your team training was less affected by the pandemic situation, you got a good head start versus a country that just allowed you to resume training in the tunnel or from an airplane by May or June. Given the fact, that most teams planning to attend the Mondial are non-professional teams, which means their members have a normal job during the week and train on the weekend, one can imagine, how many training dates would be possible until you have to be prepared for a Mondial. And don’t forget the rainy summer this year in some places of Europe.
Then there is the situation in Russia… With new variants (how many letters does the Greek alphabet have?) of the Virus, travelling to a foreign country that is affected by one of the mutations, is not something truly calculable. And no matter how good the Russian doctors are, catching the Virus in a country where you don’t speak the local language is not desirable. Not to forget, that if you come back from Russia, you will most likely have to go to a mandatory quarantine. Given the fact that most of us use the majority of their leave days for skydive training and competition, there might not be another 5 days left for quarantine.
Last but not least it is problematic to train and compete on short notice with new team members. As a team you need quite some time to synch your techniques and your flow. Team SKYNAMITE came out of the lockdown with 2 members having left the team. Recruiting one completely new person and relying on our alternate for being eligible to attend the competition was an option – whilst not having a sufficient chance of training. So do you want to represent your country on an untrained lineup?
These are the facts we as team SKYNAMITE had to face concerning our Tanay decision. Yes, we all wanted to go, it’s a heart’s desire. You have trained for it, before the virus showed up and still tried to do whatever was possible during the last two years. And then there is your common sense that a reasonable decision has to be made. Reasonable – what a horrible word. You know it is best not to go to Tanay, but your heart is bleeding. You are an athlete, that is what you have trained for. At some point – when your delegation is claiming your registration forms – you have to make a hard decision. Everybody for himself/herself and then as a team consent. It must not be unanimously, but most important is, that everybody in that team can live with the decision. Teams have been exploding upon such decisions.
Making hard decisions sometimes takes time. In the end, we decided not to compete in Tanay with some random average and a lot of restrictions. We decided to focus on the next world championship in Eloy 2022. It was a hard decision, but it was the right decision, even if it leaves an emptiness in your heart and a bad taste in your mouth. So lets wash it down with a good glas of Russian Vodka and wish all competing athletes: sa sdarówje = to your health!