Hall of Fame 2022

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Congratulations to the Hall of Fame Class of 2022!

Image by Randy Forbes

The International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2022, amazing people in our sport whose accomplishments will be included in the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame (HoF) will be located in the International  Skydiving Museum, which will be built in the Orlando, Florida, USA, area. This promises an interactive experience to members of the public, to showcase our sport.

The Class of 2022 has recently been announced, congratulations to:

  • Pete Allum – Great Britain
  • Amy Chmelecki – USA
  • J. Scott Hamilton – USA
  • Deanna Kent* – Mexico
  • Eliana Rodriguez – USA
  • Laurie “Truck” Sams – Australia
  • Dave Waterman* – Great Britain
  • Solly Williams – South Africa/USA


Selection Process

How are they chosen? Anyone worldwide is welcome to propose someone to be entered into the Hall of Fame, there is a simple procedure on the Museum website (here), where they will soon be taking nominations for 2023. There is a Hall of Fame selection committee, which this year was expanded to invite overseas, active experienced jumpers. The HoF selection committee members for 2022 were:

  • Bill Wenger (Chair)         HOF Trustee
  • Marylou Laughlin            HOF Trustee 
  • Chris Needels                HOF Trustee
  • Pat Thomas                   HOF Trustee
  • Graeme Windsor                HOF Trustee
  • Mike Beck                       PIA
  • Albert Berchtold            At Large
  • Lesley Gale                   Current HOF member
  • Joshua Hall                    USPA
  • Gillian Rayner                 ISC

This year there were 120 different nominations!  Each committee member studied the nominations and came up with just 5 names for the ‘Class of 2022. Those names went onto a shortlist, which was thoroughly discussed at a meeting (some attending remotely). Then there was a final vote.   Normally only 5 persons are inducted. This year, because the votes were closely matched, the honor was extended to a further 3, making 8 in all. This exception was approved by the Museum Board of Trustees.

Hall of Fame Class of 2020 and 2021
Photo by Anthony Armendariz

Hall of Fame Criteria

The standard of nominations was very high. The HoF Committee stuck closely to the defined criteria, as follows:

The International Skydiving Hall of Fame recognizes those individuals who have defined, promoted, and advanced skydiving at the highest and sustained levels such that they have made it possible for generations of skydivers to enjoy the sport.

Inductees must have made major contributions to the sport in at least three of the following skydiving-related areas:

  • Leadership
  • Competition (to include judging)
  • Photography/Videography
  • Aviation
  • Innovation
  • Design, Invention and/or Manufacturing
  • Sport promotion (to include government liaison)
  • Philanthropy
Hall of Fame banquet, 2021
Image by Andrey Veselov

Class of 2022

Introducing the class of 2022, with a brief summary of some of their achievements…

Pete Allum – Great Britain

Pete Allum

Pete Allum was British National Champion in FS – 4-way and/or 8-way – every year from 1985 to 2003. He then competed for Italy, becoming four times Italian National Champion. Pete gained multiple international indoor skydiving medals, and again became UK National Champion in 2015 and 2016. In all, over 30 years of excellence, international competition, mentoring and epitomizing sportsmanship.

Pete is the UK’s most experienced skydiver, with over 35,000 jumps, and more National/World medals than any other. He has dedicated his life to the sport, founding the UK’s first AFF school, coaching national teams, organising record events and coaching individuals. Pete has educated himself to speak five languages and gain a Diploma in Sports Psychology. He has contributed to multiple training programs worldwide in AFF, FS, CP, body flight, and the Mutant. In 2010-2011, Pete went on a personal crusade to make the sport safer by touring over 20 DZs throughout Italy, giving safety talks, DZ briefings and canopy seminars. Pete has recently established a Green Energy initiative to try to make our sport sustainable for the future.

“He has represented England and his sport with more quality and heart than any other competitor in history over the span of four decades. Pete is loved and respected across our community because of who he is as a person: humble, polite, well-spoken and thoughtful, he connects to all at the same level” 

Ian Bobo

Amy Chmelecki – USA

Amy Chmelecki at the 2021 Highlight Pro team training camp at Skydive Arizona

Amy was instrumental in the development of VFS, freefly records and demo jumping. She has 19 ratified World Records, in most of these she was an organizer, and many times the Event Leader, inspiring others by well-chosen words. She is currently co-masterminding Project 19, a Women’s World Record of unprecedented media exposure. Amy has completed numerous projects with the Red Bull Air Force the all-female Highlight Pro Skydiving Team. She has also been in several movies and commercials, continually showcasing skydiving to the public, and encouraging female participation.

Amy is a multiple National Champion in VFS and freestyle, with Resident Eloy and Arizona Arsenal. Her achievements are even more remarkable when you consider she was born with a hip not properly formed and spent the first few months of life in a cast, only able to move her arms and head. This was followed by 15 years of severe lung infections, yet now Amy is a professional athlete. Amy has made her living from skydiving for over 20 years. She has been on a mission to get more women in skydiving since day one.

“Amy’s attitude has always been of support for others. She revels in the success of her students, her teams and her sport! Amy brings an air of driven confidence, combined with the right amount of humbleness to prove herself over and over again as a leader, innovator and contributor that ensures her mark will be felt in the sport over many decades” 

Randy Connell

J. Scott Hamilton – USA

J Scott Hamilton

Dr J. Scott Hamilton is an experienced, multi-rated pilot, Professor of Aviation Law at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and the author of a textbook ‘Practical Aviation and Aerospace Law’. Starting in 1961 as a sport parachutist at Arkansas Tech, he became a military parachutist and HALO instructor, and was manager, instructor, rigger, and president of the Special Warfare Center Sport Parachute Club, which won the Ridgeway Trophy in 1965 as the best military club under his leadership.

Scott has worked for decades to protect parachuting. He drafted the ‘bulletproof’ hold-harmless agreement that protected DZs from liability for parachuting injuries, during 1971-1984. He obtained an FAA waiver for tandem jumping and worked to combat the ‘columns of air’ proposed rule change in the seventies that could have destroyed parachuting.

Scott was Assistant Director of the USPA from 1966-1969, and later, after leaving the employ of USPA, he became a voluntary National Director, serving for 8 years, for 2 of which he was President. Scott wrote the script and produced the USPA film, ‘This is a Sport?’, an excellent tool for USPA to promote skydiving. He was a prolific writer for Parachutist, the USPA magazine, and responsible for formulating many basic guidelines for uniformity of instruction, improving safety.

“The hours that he has devoted to the sport are beyond calculation; John Hamilton has been a contributor to the sport of skydiving for decades.”

Norman Heaton

Deanna Kent – Mexico

Deanna Kent

Deanna “Skydancer” Kent – born Diana Marcela Olea Rodriguez – started jumping at 15, and soon became a lieutenant in the Mexican Air Force. The then President selected her to tour the country doing a demo jump before his every speech, the only woman trusted with this honor. She was considered the most experienced skydiver in Mexico. In 1982, Deanna created ‘Skydancing’ as she called it. She would design poses on the ground and take them to the sky. This forced husband/camera flyer, Norman Kent, to improve his flying skills to keep Deanna in frame, as most of her positions traveled across the sky and changed fall rate constantly. Thus, Deanna was a major force in the introduction and innovation of Freestyle, opening minds to creativity to our sport in the eighties.

Her passion, self-expression and unshakable belief paved the way for other disciplines such as Freeflying, Skysurfing, Angle Flying, etc, by opening eyes to all that is possible in human flight. Deanna ‘Skydancer’ Kent, showcased a new image of skydiving to the world, through Norman’s movies such as ‘From Wings Came Flight’, ‘Willing To Fly’, ‘Skydancer’, ‘Freefall’, stunt work in films and TV programs like Terminal Velocity, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Bay Watch, Japanese television shows, commercials, vignettes, and countless others. Tragically Deanna died in 1997 at age 40, from a rare disease, but not before her classic compositions of art, athleticism, body flight and dance had shaped a new era of ‘skydancing’ in the sport of skydiving.

“I give Deanna the credit for getting Freestyle out to the world. Norman didn’t see the art in Freestyle at first and it was Deanna who persuaded him to give it a chance.”

Mike Michigan

Eliana Rodriguez – USA

Eliana Rodriguez by Zach Lewis

Eliana Rodriguez started jumping in 1995 and less than six years later won a World Championship, the Women’s 4-way FS.  She is one of the most successful competitors in the history of the sport, with 13 gold medals at international skydiving championships (9 outdoor and 4 indoor), 6 World Silver medals, she is 21 times US National FS Champion, 5 times indoor US FS Champion and has 16 other US National podium places. 

Eliana also has 7 World Records in Large Formation skydiving, including the current 400-way World Record. In most of these she was in a pivotal position or a coach. These accomplishments have happened in 26 years, in which she has made over 15,000 jumps and flown 1,000 hours of tunnel time. She is the only woman to be on Arizona Airspeed in over 25 years. Eliana was the first woman to win an 8-way medal at a World Championships as a team flyer (Croatia, 2004), and has more US National golds than any other female – and the vast majority of men. Eliana cofounded the Arizona Skydiving Tribe to share knowledge, improve skills and raise money for charity. She is part of the Highlight Pro Skydiving Team, an all-female skydiving demonstration team whose mission is to inspire women and girls to live bold brave lives of their own design.

“In a male-dominate sport, she has exhibited to countess female skydivers that women can be every bit as good at skydiving as men and in many cases better. It would be hard to find a better ambassador for the sport of skydiving than Eliana Rodriguez. The iron will and determination that has made her a champion is balanced with kindness and grace – a truly rare combination.” 

Jim McCormick

Laurie “truck” Sams – Australia

Laurie ‘truck’ Sams ready for the Seoul Olympiccs demo

Laurie Sams has had a long and distinguished skydiving career.  ‘truck’ made his first jump in 1968 as a member of the SAS. During 1970 – 1971 he did a tour of active duty with the SAS in South Vietnam and was awarded the Active Service Medal Vietnam, The Vietnam Medal, the Defense Forces Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Infantry Combat Badge. 

He was twice awarded the Australia Day Sporting Medal (1986 and 1987) and honored with the Australian Sports Medal in 2001 for his contributions to sport parachuting on an international level.

Sadly, truck’s personal jumping career was cut short due to tandem accident in 1995, with a main and reserve entanglement. Descending under a partial reserve, Laurie told his student (Troy Anderson) to adopt a fetal position and absorbed the landing himself. This resulted in Truck’s left leg being amputated below the knee and damage to his right leg; this stopped him from jumping. In 2001, he was awarded the Star of Courage on Queen Elizabeth II’s honour list for his bravery saving the student’s life. In 2009 he was inducted into the Golden Knights’ Hall of Fame as an Honorary Golden Knight. Truck has multiple international accuracy medals. In 1981 he won the Australian National Parachuting Accuracy Championship by scoring eighteen DCs, a record that stands today.

“Truck’s overwhelming qualities as a pioneer skydiver and humanitarian exemplify what our sport is all about: overcoming fears, accepting risk, trying new things, pushing the envelope of technology and our human abilities, honoring, protecting and caring for others; all things that make life on this earth exciting and worthy.”

Karen Hampton

Dave Waterman – Great Britain

Dave Waterman in the early days of jumping camera

David Waterman was a pioneer in photography, journalism and competition, and a major force in developing the sport. He made his first jump with the Army, aged 17, in 1954. Later he found work as a photo journalist, and won British Sports Photographer of the Year 1974 and the Special section of the World Photo Competition (1974) with parachuting images. Thus began 3 decades of Dave’s photography being published worldwide, promoting skydiving as it evolved as a sport. Scenes from A Bridge Too Far, Bollywood and riding a bike out of a C-130 caught the public’s imagination.

Dave was Editor of the British Parachute Association magazine for 6 years. He changed its flavor, taking 90% of the photographs, writing quality articles and adding colour pages.

Dave’s team won the first British meet in ‘10-man’ (as it was called in those days!), and went on to represent UK at the world meet. A new discipline of 8-way began, and Dave formed an 8-way team with Symbiosis, the British 4-way team. They took 4th place in the World Championships in Australia in 1977. The Symbiosis 8-way team dominated for a decade.

“As someone who was fortunate to stand on his shoulders to later achieve in the sport, I can see just how many were brought into the sky through his lifelong work, enthusiasm, generosity of spirit, image artistry, leadership, publishing and path-making. For British Parachuting, Dave Waterman can only be described as one of the most influential in its history”

Tony Uragallo

Solly Williams – South Africa/USA

Solly Williams

Solly Williams first shone as a competitor and then as a coach, and is now also a Partner at Skydive DeLand, DeLand, Florida. He was National Champion of South Africa continuously from 1991 to 1997, and attended many World Meets, culminating in two international medals, in 1997. Moving to Deland, Florida, he became a renowned coach, helping to put the Norwegians on the international 4-way podium for the first time in 1999, 2001 and 2003. He coached the UK ladies’ team to World Champion in 2003, and the USA ladies to World Champion in 2016.

Solly was National Champion of USA in 2003, 2004 and 2006, winning 4 international medals for the USA in this time, and a silver in 8-way. Solly was a Sector Captain for two World Records – the 2-point 202-way in 2017 and the 4-point 222-way in 2019. In 2006 he was a co Sector Captain for the 400-way WR and on the Technical Review Committee. He was one of the pioneers developing the Mantis position and is instrumental in rule changes at IPC (ISA).  Solly has promoted the sport to millions through his organization of 50 skydivers building the largest formation over China in 2017, and Blessings from the Sky in 2018, as part of the Chinese New Year celebration.

“Solly has provided exceptional leadership, not only in the field of coaching, but also direction in the development of formation skydiving, particularly with the introduction of a women’s 4-way category”

Graeme Windsor
Hall of Fame banquet , 2019
Photo by Ron Shipp

Celebration Time!

Join the Class of 2022 at Skydive DeLand, October 6 – 8 for the Hall of Fame Celebration!   Other awards will be presented at a grand dinner. The World Team will receive the 2020 Path of Excellence Award for the 400way World Record, set in 2006. Other awards will be announced. The dinner is preceded by days of activities at Skydive DeLand, a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and legends in the sport. Programme tba but usually included seminars, fun competitions, organized loads and social evenings. See you there!

  Information available at www.skydivingmuseum.org

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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.
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