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Did You Know...

... that Round 9 of the NSL Championship 2004 is now on NSL-TV?

    CamScore judging with Rina Gallo, Judy Celaya and Eric Heinsheimer at the Shamrock Showdown 2009
posted Feb 5th, 2005 - The NSL News reported with the story on 12 July 2011 how Judy Celaya, one of the most experienced judges in the sport and Chief Judge at the USPA Nationals 2011, has been recommending a better application of available judging techniques for a while to improve the accuracy of scoring. She has been working as a judge with the CamScore system from the United Kingdom at the Shamrock Showdown events in the past years where slower viewing motion and different ways how to review competition videos for judging purposes was successfully applied and where hard evidence for the different methods was generated. Eventually, she succeeded in convincing the USPA Board of Directors to approve her proposed judging methods for the USPA Nationals last year.

"Judy Celaya made a presentation on how using the technology available can make judging faster and more accurate which resulted in the following motions: Move to waive SCM 5-1.11C, 9.1.11C & 4-1.14C at the 2011 Nationals to allow partial playback, slow motion, and multiple views to increase the quality and speed of judging. Chief Judge Judy Celaya will report back to the competition committee the results from Nationals.”

The NSL News decided to take a short break from the rules updates. All the details of the changes will still be posted in an overview. The NSL News continues to collect feedback from the top teams in the meantime. A new round of NSL-TV offers a little change of the topics from the rule book back to the actual freefall action.

Round nine of the NSL Championship 2004 challenged the AAA and AA Class teams with Block 18 and three random formations. All of the AAA and AA Class teams except one applied the same vertical technique where Point and Tail cross each other first. Only Arizona Blade was more familiar with the vertical technique where Center Inside and Outside go vertically first.

CamScore judging Rina Gallo and Judy Celaya at the Shamrock Showdown 2010    
After the USPA Nationals 2011, Judy Celaya could report back to the competition committee only the same experiences that she had collected at the Shamrock Showdown in the previous years. Application of new technology and modernized judging procedures was even speeding up the process and produced more accurate results. Teams and competitors provided very positive feedback in and after Eloy 2011.

The USPA Board of Directors decided at the same time to prepare for the next step since the modernized judging procedures were only approved for the USPA Nationals. USPA's IPC Delegate was authorized to present the same procedures to the IPC for future application at World Championships and World Cups. The presentation would be based on the experiences at the USPA Nationals 2011.

“Move to direct The IPC Delegate to put forward a proposal to amend the IPC judging for FS, CF & VFS to allow partial playback, slow motion, and multiple views to increase the quality and speed of judging. Delegate will present Chief Judge Judy Celaya’s results from using these changes at the 2011 US Nationals for reference.”

    Arizona Blade's round nine, see video

CamScore judging with Eric Heinsheimer, Judy Celaya and Cherie Schuch at the Shamrock Showdown 2011    
The time for the next step has come now, as the IPC Delegates from all participating countries in the world prepare their travel to Argentina, host of this year's IPC Meeting on February 7 - 12. It's a critical point in time since the 4way teams have increased their performance and scoring level significantly since additional point deductions for infringements and slow-mo application were removed from the rules in 2003.

Officials and judges have to catch up with the athletes and find ways how to evaluate the performance as accurately as possible. A new modification of the judging rules and procedures seems to be overdue. The additional point deductions of the times before 2003 would do the job, as the teams would not be able to move on and forward ignoring any potential infringements. They would be forced to pay more attention to the correct execution of the rules.

However, this solution and the return to additional penalties is not very popular, even though penalties are very normal and common in any other sports. Therefore, at least the application of modern judging technology, including slower review motion, has proven to be successful as of getting closer to the scoring truth, and the agenda for the meeting has confirmed this:

“Judging process: Feedback from the FS meeting suggested again that the Committee looked at reduced speed judging. USPA introduced the use of slow motion and multiple viewings at their Nationals this year. Judy will send us a detailed report but regarding to Eric Heinsheimer the method used to judge worked very nicely. They had 3 panels and 60 4-way teams, and scores were posted for each round prior to most teams going up for their next jump.”

IPC Judging Procedure

What's the best way for the near future?

Application of slower review motion
Bring back additional point deductions
Don't change anything
 Current Results

Thomas Hughes, Blade's Center Outside, commented the team's technique for Block 18 in the NSL Discussion Forum when the NSL News mentioned it for the first time. This happened in July 2004 when the NSL-TV posted round five of the SSL May meet. The sequence included Block 18 (18-A-12). Blade scored 14 points in time and a 15.3 meet average.

Hughes had good reasons to apply a technique, which is theoretically slower compared to the technique used by the top teams in the world: "We did this technique because of the experience level of the team when we first started, we were thinking of changing the technique but now our times are almost as fast as the faster technique but the catch is a lot more guaranteed. Above a 19 avg though I think it needs to be changed, we will see what happens next year!!"

    Chief Judge Judy Celaya at the USPA Nationals 2011
Eric Heinsheimer has also been judging side by side with Judy Celaya at the Shamrock Showdown and then again at the USPA Nationals 2011. He will be back as a judge for the Shamrock Showdown 2012.

The IPC Meeting functions similarly compared to USPA and other federations. Committees with expert members prepare proposals, which are then usually approved by the General Assembly. Trude Sviggum is currently the Chair of the IPC Formation Skydiving Committee, and she supports the rule change. She knows the sport very well as a current member of the Norwegian national 4way team in the female category, Polaris, and she also won silver medals for Norway at the World Meet 2003 in Gap, France.

She has other experienced competitors in her committee. Philippe Schorno from France is a 3-time 4way world champion in the 80s and 90s. Eric Heinsheimer still owns the 8way world record for a single round and the highest average that the Golden Knights posted at the World Meet 1997 in Turkey. Sven Ibens was an original Hayabusa member and still trains and competes with Thunder. Jeremie Rollett is a reigning Aerodyne Aerokart 4way world champion and the national manager of the French Formation Skydiving teams. Rainer "Exi" Hoenle from Germany, Sara Sacchet from Italy and Mark Szulmayer from Australia complete the committee's lineup. The NSL News will follow up with the results of the meeting.

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Elsinore Equinox's round nine, see video    

Arizona Blade did not score above the 19 average level before attending the NSL Championship 2004. The 18.5 average at the USPA Championship 2004 included a score of 17 points in round eight, which included Block 18 (K-18-11). Only DeLand Majik (19) and the Golden Knights (18) scored higher in this round and used the faster technique.

Blade passed the 19 average level in November 2004 when the team posted its winning 19.9 average at the NSL Championship 2004. Hughes thought in July 2004 that it needs to be changed then. The new year brought a new team and the other Block 18 technique for Hughes. His new team, DeLand Fire, with former DeLand Majik member Gary Smith and former PD Blue members Shannon Pilcher and Ian Bobo, plus Natasha Montgomery, did not even consider using the slower technique. However, in round nine of the NSL Championship 2004, now on NSL-TV, Hughes and Arizona Blade demonstrate the advantages of the slower technique for the last time. The Blade score was 23 points for this round.

    FSC JAMMM's round nine, see video

The A Class teams did not have to deal with Block 18. Zircon - Zircon is not in the dive pool for this competition class. It was replaced by Block 18 (Ritz - Icepick) after the two random formations (H-K-19). The NSL News would like to use this opportunity to point out one again the incredibly exciting A Class competition of the NSL Championship 2004. The energy and competitiveness of the two top contenders for the gold medals, GT Airlock and FSC JAMMM, was more than enough evidence that this competition class has become a solid part of the NSL structure.

The lead in the A Class had gone back and forth between GTA and FSC throughout the first eight rounds. GT Airlock of the Georgia Skydiving League came from a devastating round eight with a score of zero points, which had given FSC JAMMM of the Florida Skydiving League the opportunity to take back the lead by one single point.

GT Airlock's round nine, see video    

Both teams had been very close to each other in rounds two, three and four after FSC JAMMM had built a three-point lead in round one. Rounds five through eight showed a very different scenario. The teams' scores had a difference of at least three points in each of these rounds. However, it evened out, and the FSL team was up by one point before round nine.

Both teams were highly foucused and concentrated going into round nine. The result was another close round. In fact, it was only the second time that the teams posted the same scores for a round. It is well worth watching these two jumps and see how FSC JAMMM works hard to defend the lead, and how GTA tries to find back the rhythm and put some great scores on the board. Both teams succeeded with their scores of ten points for the round, and FSC JAMMM carried the one-point lead into round ten. Enjoy the show, and give these two teams some credit for their great performances at the NSL Forum.

The whole round can be viewed on the NSL-TV 2004 page. Navigate to the "Archives" > "2004", and then go to "Images" > "NSL-TV". The scoring table of the NSL Championship 2004 offers the links to all jumps, as well.

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