As the sport of indoor skydiving increases in popularity overseas, Bob Pizzini is already making strides to establish Virginia Beach as the U.S. home of indoor skydiving.
And for the CEO and managing partner of iFLY Virginia Beach, that includes a pending position as executive director of the national governing body for indoor skydiving designated by the National Aeronautic Association, as well as establishing the title of the U.S. National Training Center for Indoor Skydiving.
The company’s wind tunnel, which is 14 feet in diameter and 52 feet tall, hosted the nation’s first indoor skydiving competition last April. That event was also the U.S. qualifier for teams wishing to compete in the World Air Sports Federation’s championships of indoor skydiving in Montreal, Canada, last October.
And now iFLY is getting ready to host a qualifying competition for the third World Cup of Indoor Skydiving set for October in Bahrain.
The international competition rotates between a championship and cup every year. National teams are invited to compete in a championship, but anyone is able to compete in a cup.
This year’s U.S. qualifier will be in May and Pizzini said he expects around 150 competitors from six to 10 countries.
International athletes are invited to compete, but only 25 U.S. athletes will be on the nation’s team.
Pizzini said athletes from last year’s competition participated in an extensive survey that provided feedback identifying iFly Virginia Beach as the best facility, wind tunnel, staff, organized competition and live broadcast.
That feedback, along with some investigation into how the competitive aspect of the sport could be profitable, led Pizzini to take an interest in hosting competitions and creating a U.S. team.
Last year, the U.S. team was made up of people from across the country. But there was no team manager, coach, head of delegation or physician.
Pizzini wants to take the lead in organizing the country’s team and representation, including acquiring sponsorships and partnerships.
He has already acquired a hotel sponsorship, VSA Resorts, which is currently hosting several athletes who are training at the center.
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