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International, independent, e-magazine on skydiving, BASE & tunnel

Fly Girls Women’s Summit

Amy Chmelecki brings together Female Leaders in Skydiving and the Wider World of Sports for the Second Annual Fly Girls Women’s Summit

Fly Girls kick off a pylon race — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool
Fly Girls kick off a pylon race — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool

During the two-day event Amy and her guests addressed issues facing women in sport while certifying three new female tandem skydiving instructors and competing in a day of pylon racing in the clouds.

DeLand, FL (January 8, 2019) - Legendary skydiver and Red Bull Air Force member Amy Chmelecki is known for breaking down barriers. She holds countless National and World Championships as well as 11 skydiving world records. This past weekend she invited the most admirable and inspiring female athletes she knows to share ideas, educate and inspire each other. In this second annual Red Bull Fly Girls summit, she also addressed an issue she identified in her own sport at the inaugural event nearly one year ago. 

Audrey Buchanan leads a panel discussion with Amy Chmelecki, Melissa Arnot, Katrina Adams, Grete Eliassen and Maja Kuczynska  — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool
Audrey Buchanan leads a panel discussion with Amy Chmelecki, Melissa Arnot, Katrina Adams, Grete Eliassen and Maja Kuczynska  — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool

The sport of skydiving is more male-dominated than most, a fact Amy was well aware of from her years of experience, but during the Fly Girls 2018 panel session Amy and her peers came to realize just how out of whack the numbers were. Before the summit kicked off there were only 86 female tandem instructors compared to nearly 2,000 male instructors. Amy immediately made plans to bridge that gap. 

When you want to do your first skydive in the United States you literally have to strap yourself to a man to enter the sport, so we’re here to change that experience

“When you want to do your first skydive in the United States you literally have to strap yourself to a man to enter the sport, so we’re here to change that experience.” Chmelecki said. 

Joined by some of the most skilled women in her sport, Amy and her contingent of Fly Girls spent two days skydiving and holding intense pylon races. Beating out 55 other participants Ashley Goldstein won the Vertical competition, while Amy finished 2nd for the second consecutive year. Indoor World Champion Maja Kuczynska won the Horizontal Race, a new event to the Summit this year. 

Competition winners — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool
Competition winners — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool

The group of elite skydivers also began the process of making her sport more female-friendly by helping three of their peers complete their tandem instructor certification. 

“What made me interested in becoming a tandem instructor is that I was lucky enough to have a female tandem instructor for my first jump and I thought she was the coolest person I met in my entire life,” said newly certified tandem instructor Laura Golly, “For many women, because most tandem masters are male, you don’t have anyone to aspire to. Amy is helping to change that”

In addition to the boogie at Skydive DeLand, Amy also hosted a panel of luminaries who represented a wide spectrum of sports and experiences that included mountaineering legend Melissa Arnot Reid, the first female to summit Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen, to Katrina Adams, the first ever female USTA President to serve two terms. Throughout the discussion, which was held in front of an audience of 120 women, the panel touched on issues that women in sports deal with regularly; including increased participation, equal pay and recognition, and the importance of assuming leadership roles in their respective sports. 

Sam Smith, Katie Hansen, Maja Kuczynska, Amy Chmelecki, Laura Golly – making the sport more female-friendly — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool
Sam Smith, Katie Hansen, Maja Kuczynska, Amy Chmelecki, Laura Golly – making the sport more female-friendly — by Krystle Wright/Red Bull Content Pool

“We have to join these boards, we have to becomes coaches, we have to be leaders and speak up. If we don’t no one will.” said two-time XGames Gold Medalist and former President of The Women’s Sports Foundation, Grete Eliassen.

Check out the fun on the Red Bull action video!

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