Catching up with… Olivier Longchamp

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Olivier Longchamp – he loves to fly and loves life!

Olivier Longchamp is an awesome flyer, in the tunnel and out in the big blue sky. He is a passionate, humble individual with a zest for life and a strong inner spirit and peace. A keen competititor, Olivier seems to excel in everything, having won medals indoors and outdoors, in freefly, freestyle, 2-way dynamic and 4-way dynamic. 

Where are you from, how many skydives, home DZ, home tunnel? 

My home tunnel is Realfly Sion in Switzerland, where I’ve been working since 2014. Home DZ is the Flying Devil in Bex, Switzerland 20 minutes from where I live. 

Olivier flying 4-way dynamic at the Indoor World Cup, Slovakia, 2023, where the team won a silver medal

Please list your competition history

  • 2015 – World Championships, Freestyle, Indoor – 6th place
  • 2016 – Charlewars II Dynamic 2-way Indoor – 4th place 
  • 2016 – World Championships, Chicago, Freestyle Outdoor, 7th place
  • 2016 – World Cup, Dynamic 2-way, Indoor, 5th place
  • 2017 – World Cup, Freestyle, Outdoor – 4th place
  • 2017 – World Championships, Canada, Indoor, 4-way Dynamic – Bronze 
  • 2018 – World Championships, Australia, Freestyle, Outdoor – 4th place 
  • 2019 – World Cup, Eloy, USA, Freefly, Outdoor with team Swiss Chocolate – Bronze
  • 2021 – World Cup, Charleroi, Indoor, 2-way Dynamic 5th, 4-way Dynamic – Gold
  • 2022 – World Championships Eloy, USA, Outdoor, Freefly – Bronze
  • 2023 – World Cup, Slovakia, Indoor, 2-way Dynamic 5th. ,4-way Dynamic – Silver
Chocolate Freefly Team win bronze at the outdoor World Championships, 2023, at Eloy, Arizona

Which came first for you, tunnel or sky? 

Skydiving was first, I did my first jump in 2009. The first time in the tunnel was 2011 in Paris. 

Why did you start skydiving? 

I was just enjoying watching people flying or piloting. I was more interested in the plane in the beginning. Then I saw a picture of freefall – I was amazed and I just wanted to do that. So, I did my first jump when I was 17. 

What inspired you to start charging and competing? 

I was learning pretty fast, I was really interested. I was thinking about flying all the time. I wanted to be good, I wanted to push my limits. I wanted to work in the tunnel as an instructor, take that path. Then I managed to get a job as an instructor. I was interested in competition and trying to get into it; I did my first one in 2015, the White Knights. It went really well, so I thought I would keep going in competition. 

Olivier competing at Charlewars, 2016, in 2-way dynamic with Manuel Schneuwly
Photo by Joelle Kunz

In skydiving I was always interested in freefly and freestyle, the artistic side of skydiving, it was always a dream. So, when I had the opportunity I started a Freestyle team with Stephanie Marmier, and we just went straight into it. I wanted to have the opportunity of a World Championship. It was really hard in the beginning, it’s hard to train and organise outdoors. Then a second opportunity came out, Luc Bourgeois wanted to do a freefly team, so we went as Chocolate Team with Aaron Crisci as our videoman! We did a lot of training jumps, it was more serious. It was good to experience that – living the dream [laughs] – every month jumping a lot and really focussing on training. It was super nice to do.

Chocolate Freefly Team competing in Arizona, 2022
Photo by Seb Chambet

You always seem very calm at competitions, is that so or are you less calm inside?! 

I’m not so relaxed inside for sure! I have just learned to control this feeling. I like to be focussed in competition, keep the right headspace. I look calm because I am focussed. You must be present all the time.

What kind of tools do you use on competition days to stay focused? 

I mediate with music. Sometimes I try to visualise my routine – but often repeating it too much is not the best. Sometimes it’s better to just to let go and fly. Trust myself. Get back to my feet, in my shoes; just feeling it, not being up there in the head. Thinking about the routine helps but not too much, trust the muscle memory ;). 

Controlling your breathing is important. At the beginning the judges said I was not breathing smoothly, they could see that, it was making me more tense. I took their advice and focussed more on breathing slowly and consciously, that really helped. 

Team Chocolate
Photo by Ewan Cowie

You’ve won international medals in indoor and outdoor skydiving. Do you think they require a different skill set? 

It’s not the same skill set at all. It’s not the same kind of training. In the tunnel you can train as much as you want. It doesn’t matter if the weather is good or bad, and you can fly so much more time in a day. You just can repeat a move or a routine again and again and again. You use the muscle memory more.

In skydiving, you have to play more with the visualisation, the meditation. You have to really focus more on the ground – walk the routine a lot and really visualise a lot. Because it’s not so accessible to get in the sky – weather, manifesting, packing, there is a limit on freefall time. With skydiving it is always a competition jump, you only have 50 seconds, so you have to make it work. In the tunnel you can just stop and redo the move. 

You have to be careful not to be injured, because you want to make it to the competition fully fit. That’s the same in both, but the likely injuries come from different threats.

Olivier and Manuel Schneuwly competing in 2-way Dynamic, Montréal, 2017

How has it been to apply your tunnel background to flying in the sky?

It takes a lot of time to adjust. Flying indoors you are in this 4 metre tunnel so you can’t lose your teammate (you can hit them!). In the sky it’s different, you can do a move and you see your teammate is all of a sudden so far away – like, almost joining in the jump of the other people! When I go in the tunnel and fly a fast speed round, then I go in the sky I have to slow down. My body wants to go fast but I have to delay it. In the sky you have to get closer to your teammate. You must set it up differently, make sure you’re very close before you signal the start of the move, and then focus on staying tight. At the beginning it was really hard in the sky, to focus more with my teammate and not on the move itself. 

Tunnel is an excellent tool to train for the sky. The only things you can’t train are the exit and angle flying. But it’s a different kind of training in the tunnel if it’s for an outdoor competition or an indoor. 

What is your favourite kind of skydive to do? 

2-way flying – then you can throw a lot of tricks and can also let your mind fly, let your spirit loose. I like big groups as well, angles and sometimes vertical. It’s nice to fly with a group and always impressive to see a lot of people flying together. I love that. But with 2-way you can more be yourself, express yourself differently. You can just let your real self fly because you have a lot of trust in the other person, and you know nothing weird is going to happen. I like this feeling – just ‘Send it!’

And your favourite thing to do in the tunnel, is that also 2-way? 

Flying 2-way for fun in the tunnel with friends is great, you always come out with big smiles and everyone’s happy. But my absolute favourite is doing a 4-way dynamic routine. I’m always amazed when we train 4-way. When I go home afterwards, I really feel good. Even flying just speed rounds, I always feel my absolute best afterwards.

4-way dynamic at the World Cup, Slovakia, 2023

What is it about D4W that makes you feel that good?

It’s a lot of preparation, calculation, theorizing, talking through ideas for routines. Building the routine is so cool to just think and talk a lot how you can create a really good balance, especially flying 4-way with a lot of crossing over. There are rules between every cross, so it is a lot of brainwork, a lot of mental concentration. 

4-way dynamic and doing this journey has helped me so much mentally, and in my personal life. Building routines helped me with my life, more than just flying. It was deeper than that. It helped me getting through some hard things that happened to me. It gave me more confidence. It changed my perception of flying in the tunnel, learning to fly at speed with three other people. I progressed a lot as a flyer. The 4-way is always giving me a lot – way more than I feel I am giving to the team for example. Also, the discipline: you want to train, want to be fit, able to fly at this speed and feel on top, so it’s easy to do the work.

Who are some of your inspirations in flying, both indoors and outdoors? 

Skydiving-wise, it was Babylon, Fred and Vince, the Soul Flyers – the old school freeflyers. Also, freestyle inspired me a lot. Then Filip Crnjakovic,Ramsey [Fabian Ramseyer], Scott Plamer and Martin Kristensen, who won the Battle of Bottrop. Team4Speed; the VFS French team, they were on top for a very long while. Rafa Schwaiger; he was a great coach for me when I started the tunnel. 

It’s a very cool feeling, thinking about it, Filip and Ramsey were my inspiration – and now they are my teammates. I am proud to experience this, to be able to have a team with them. I was looking up to them at the beginning; I was so small and they were so big – and now we fly together, as equal teammates, having a great time.

Who are your sponsors and supporters?

My first ever sponsor would be my Mum for sure ! RealFly started to sponsor me for tunnel time, which was huge. We had some help this World Championships from the Swiss Skydive Federation. Gear-wise, UPT Vector was the first to help us, then PD, Larsen and Brusgaard and TonFly helmets. 

And a special mention for my teammate and friend, Luc Bourgeois. He sponsored a lot for the Chocolate freefly team. He was part of the team, and he gave us a lot, a huge chance to get into freefly competition. We went really far, he was my student in the beginning. It was cool, to have the feeling to bring your student to the podium. To say, ‘okay, now we are here together.’ 😃

Chocolate Freefly Team

Who thought of the wonderful team name, Chocolate?

Me. My birthday is the beginning of June. With my friend and student Luc and Aaron, we were always going every year at this time to a big party – the Chocolate Festival in Lausanne. When we were starting the freefly team, he asked me if I had an idea for the name. Straight away I said, ‘Yes I have one, we are Swiss so I think ‘Chocolate’ would be nice. And everybody loves it.

Chocolate in Arizona
Photo by Seb Chambet

What are your next goals? 

With skydiving, I can’t really continue because I have no time any more, and it’s very hard to find the money for so much training, even if you get sponsored. For the tunnel, I want to come back with the 4-way Dynamic team we had this year. It was one of the best experiences I ever had! It felt so great to fly with the boys. We might do one more championship as a 4-way in 2025. 

For the Wind Games in February, I will go into the judging side for the Dynamic events. And maybe a little freestyle; get into the adventure alone again. 

I’m also getting into music. I’ve been enjoying mixing, then people have asked me to play for them, so now I’m doing quite a few gigs. It’s a different energy to skydiving or tunnel but it’s still shared energy and expression, it feels good. 

Video – 4-way Dynamic

4-way Dynamic Routine winning silver medal at the World Cup of Indoor Skydiving, Slovakia, 2023. Video by Filip Crnjakovic, with Fabian Ramseyer, Olivier Longchamp, Martin Kristensen and Benjamin Guex.

Video – 2-way Dynamic

Olivier Longchamp and Benjamin Guex, training for the last Wind Games, in 2020.

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Meet: Lesley Gale

Lesley has been in love with skydiving for 35 years. She is a multiple world and national record holder and a coach on 20 successful record events worldwide. She has over 100 competition medals spanning more than 25 years and has been on the British 8-way National team at World events. She started Skydive Mag to spread knowledge, information and passion about our amazing sport.
Lesley is delighted to be sponsored by Performance Designs, Sun Path, Cypres, Cookie, Symbiosis suits and Larsen & Brusgaard

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