Jack Jefferies

Standing dazed on a grassy field in Lucenec, Czechoslovakia, in 1991, I was one of the four members of the U.S. Skydiving Team who knew we had lost the world championships by the sound of French cheers coming from the crowd. The air screamed as the French national team bore down toward us at terminal velocity. Their parachutes cracked open over the field, and the crowd poured out of the viewing tent, running to greet the new champions. Bewildered and mute, our young team stood frozen as if in a dream. This wasn't, couldn't be real. We had it all: talent, ambition, everything. We were expected to win. What had gone wrong?

The 1991 U.S. Skydiving Team suffered a devastating defeat in Lucenec ...

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