Catching up with… Sydney Kennett

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Sydney is the Sky on Stage Indoor Champion 2020, fourteen years of age, and she flies like a dream…

Sydney Kennett performing one of her signature moves, ‘the Scorpion’
Image by Michael Ross Cunningham

Sydney’s grace, flexibility and musicality and combine in gymnastic and dance moves that make the tunnel her personal artistic stage. She has won many competitions already in her young life and has a bright future. When Sydney flies, you just have to watch, her choreography and artistic expression demand it!

Sydney’s Dad always wanted her to learn to fly – but he could never have predicted she would quickly learn to outfly most people in the world!

Hey Sydney, when did you start flying in the tunnel and how did you discover it?

I took my first flight when I was 8 years old.  My dad was a skydiver for many years, and it was always a dream of his to introduce my sister and I to body flight.  I was able to learn through Flight School at iFLY, what was then called Kids Club.  There, I met my first coach Preston Drake and he is one of the most amazing flyers I have ever been around to this day.  He instilled in me the fun of flying and it has always been fun because of him.

How many tunnel hours do you have since then approximately?

I have around 200 hours total.

Sydney Kennett, indoor skydiving athlete
Image by EJ Carr

You recently won Freestyle at Wind Games 2020 with the same choreography you presented at Sky on Stage “Throwback”. Can you tell us a bit more insights about the experience of performing live and the emotions that goes with it?

I find that competing is both exhilarating and very scary all at the same time. I’m honestly a pretty shy person so sometimes I get really nervous performing live, but once I am in the wind, I feel at home and can just do my thing.

Video – Sydney at Wind Games 2020

The routine with which Sydney won the Gold Medal Junior Freestyle at Wind Games 2020, and Sky on Stage 2021 (Indoor Throwback)

Do you prepare your choreographies by yourself or you have a trainer to help?

My mom and dad are my coaches.  My mom is a really good choreographer because she was a high-level gymnast and my dad has flying experience, so together we are able to come up with amazing ideas. We have many conversations around the dinner table at night about ideas for routines and tricks.

How long did it take you and how many training hours to prepare for the Wind Games 2020?

It’s hard to say, we spend so many hours outside of the tunnel coming up with ideas and combinations so it’s kind of a constant growth trying to build routines.

Sydney applies her grace and adventurous spirit to all action sports

Do you have backgrounds in other sports other than wind tunnel flying and at what level?

I absolutely love dirt bike track riding and jumping and downhill mountain biking.  I like to go fast.  My family is also big into skiing both resort and backcountry and I love both. This year I did my first enduro race on my dirt-bike and am also going to enter a couple of extreme skiing competitions so that is very exciting. I also participated for a couple of years in competitive gymnastics and loved that too.  This is an old video that shows off some of my hobbies:

Video – Sydney’s passions

What do you love so much about flying?

The freedom to come up with tricks and ideas that no one has ever done before like my scorpion and double scorpion.  I also love meeting kids from all around the world that say I inspire them to fly and ask for help and coaching.

Do you think Sky on Stage has potential for the future?

Absolutely!!!  While I think in person competitions are amazing, sometimes not as many people can attend because they are all around the world and to get more involvement in the sport, it helps to get as many people together as possible.

What do you think about the 2 separate Assessors of Panels, do you like this format?

I think the format is great – it presents a couple of different viewpoints on what exciting flying is.  The emotion of flying is just as important sometimes as the technical aspect in my opinion.

Any comment you like to add about your experience at Sky on Stage?

I know that things are tough in the world right now for a lot of people and it was good to just have a reason to get together and share some flying with everyone and smile.  Sky On Stage did something wonderful for the sport in so many ways. Thank you again Stefania, for all of your work to make this happen, I know it wasn’t easy 🙂.

More Info

  • Check out the Sky on stage competition here.
  • If you want to learn more about Sydney’s adventures you can visit her website or follow her on Facebook and Instagram
  • Sydney is proud to be sponsored by iFly and Cookie Helmets
Sydney in full swing
Photo courtesy of iFLY
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Meet: Stefania Martinengo

Stefania has dreamt about flying since she was about 5 years old, a recurrent dream, her favorite one.
She started skydiving in 1989 and quickly fell in love with Freestyle and Skydance, being inspired by ‘From Wings Came Flight’ movie, produced by Norman Kent, filming Deanna Kent and Mike Michigan, the father and mother of Freestyle and Skydancing. She started training and competing and the results started to appear. She is a Freefly and Freestyle Italian champion multiple times, Freestyle World Champion, World Air Games Champion and World Games Champion, to name just a few of her accomplishments. She also qualified as an Italian and FAI judge.

1996 silver at freestyle World Championships
1997 bronze in freefly at the ESPN SSI Pro Tour
1998-2005 Co-organizer of the Space Games in team with Olav Zipser
1995,96,97, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005 : freestyle Italian Champion
2001: freefly Italian Champion
2001: freestyle World Champion, World Air Games Champion, World Games Champion
2001: freefly 4th place at World Air Games
2002: FAI international judge
2004: freestyle European Champion in team with Olav Zipser
2004: silver at freestyle World Championships
2005: bronze at freestyle World Cup
2007: FAI international judge at freefly head-down world record
2012: Female Head-down French Record

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