COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Skydivers across the nation are flying into Colorado Springs this weekend! iFLY Colorado Springs is hosting the U.S. 2022 Indoor Skydiving Nationals for its first major competition. It's an event that highlights the ins and outs of an up-and-coming sport.
18-year-old James Rogers is one of the 150 competitors he traveled all the way from Florida to try and punch a ticket to the world championships in Slovakia.
Rogers says, "Me and my dad got into it years back, he was a paratrooper in the army and through that started skydiving and so on and knew that the tunnels were a thing, so we just started going and ever since then it picked up, I really liked it and started competing."
Though it's a unique-looking sport like any other the more you practice the better you get.
"Flying a lot, training the different disciplines, freestyle and dynamic, getting faster, looking cleaner, looking better, learning new tricks etc," says Rogers.
So what are the judges looking for?
"There's two disciplines we have, speed and free. Speed rounds are very fast, we have to fly a very specific pattern and then free, you do a routine and make it look really beautiful, and very complex and artistic moves and stuff like that," says Chief Juge Garet Blodsworth
Skydiving experts say indoor skydiving is the perfect starting point before trying outdoors.
I-Fly Instructor Dave Aretzlaff says, "If I were to start all over again, I would start in this. I've got thousands of skydives and that is the best way to learn the balance of what this is, it's kind of like yoga you're learning these new positions with your body and there's a really quantifiable way to get that done in here which is more enjoyable for most folks, myself included."
Air Force Academy "Wings of Blue" benefit from having this wind tunnel in their backyard.
"This is a 14-foot tunnel for us, it's circular, and there's a lot more room we can practice all the maneuvers we would do in a regular skydive in the air in the wind tunnel now, so it's been huge," says Coach Jarrod Aranda
Indoor skydiving has been knocking on the Olympics' door for a while, in fact, it was beaten out by breakdancing in the last Olympics.
For it to become a reality Aretzlaff said, "I think people just need to be exposed to it a little bit more. And I think we need to come up with a better business plan if you will like this is why we want to be a part of it and this is how you quantify it."
The experts say they expect indoor skydiving to become an Olympic sport in the next 4 to 8 years as long as its popularity keeps growing. Nations run through Sunday it's free to attend so if this piqued your interest go check it out.
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