As skydivers we all dream of one day becoming a pro athlete. Imagine becoming part of the world elite, jumping in the most desirable locations around the world. We wanted to know more about this dream come true, so we asked Amy Chmelecki to share some of her secrets. Amy Holds several world records and is a member of the world famous Red Bull Air Force. Not only an amazing skydiver but truly one of the most amazing and compassionate person I've ever met.
What drove you to start skydiving?
At age 14 I overheard someone talking about two women that went skydiving and that they said it was the greatest thing they had ever done -- it put the thought in my head. From that point on I knew I would do it when I turned 18. I just kept seeing myself do flip after flip, and the freedom related to moving that way captivated me. It was something I knew I would eventually do.
What would you say has been your most stressful skydiving moment so far?
I broke my leg about 10 years ago. The accident was entirely my fault. I organized the jump, caused a terrible collision in freefall and very well could have killed someone. It was a terrible mistake on so many levels, but at the same time, I was very lucky. While I was healing I realized I was moving too fast!
Yes, I was literally moving too fast on the jump, but I am talking about in general. I was attempting to do something too difficult for my skill set. The poorly planned skydive was rushed and just a bad idea in general. I ended up learning a lot from that jump.
The first thing I learned was that breaking your bones really hurts! It is expensive and prevents you from skydiving, but it was more than that. I was humbly reminded that skydiving is dangerous and if not respected you can hurt or kill yourself or someone else.
What do you feel is your most accomplished moment today skydiving?
I am really proud of all the world records I have organized -- they really are hard work. There is so much pre-planning that goes into them! So much practice! During the attempts, there are always challenges you have to face. I really enjoy getting people from around the world together to work as a team. You have to push through doubt, frustration, tiredness, injury, and fear to make the record happen. When a new record is set and the bar has officially been raised and the feeling you get is indescribable! I love it!
Tell me a bit about being a female skydiver?
It has had its pros and cons and those pros and cons have changed with age. Mostly I would say it has been great! We each walk a different path and along that path, we will be challenged, rewarded, knocked down and get back up. There have been some setbacks for me that relate to being a female --- but overall I would say I have been extremely lucky in this life and I am very very grateful!
So many little girls look up to you as a role model. Do you have any advice for them as they progress in the sport?
Yes! I have some advice. This advice will help children progress in this sport or any sport and life in general.
- Do your best to be kind to others no matter who they are!
- Do your best to not take anything personally -- if someone picks on you or is mean to you, it is because they are sad. Just ignore them, but secretly wish for them to be happy.
- Do your best to stay calm. Sometimes things will happen and they may seem like a really big deal, but really they are not. If you overreact to something you can make a small problem into a big problem.
- Always try your best!
Amy And Ryan Casserly
You are a Red Bull Athlete! That's like the top of the bar for athletes in our sport. Can you tell me a bit about what's it's like?
It is a HUGE honor for me to be part of the Red Bull Air Force. The company is a fantastic one to work with. Red Bull is charging hard when it comes to sports. I love that! Being part of the RBAF is nothing short of a dream come true for me. Red Bull helps me make my dreams come true all the time and other people get inspiration form that. I am so very thankful.
Amy and John Devore
What do you feel is next in your career?
I have never been much of a planner -- I am not entirely sure what is next. My guess would be that I will continue to fly hard for the next 10 years and then move into some sort of management role. I have a few dreams though...
- To be a stage manager for tunnel shows or a producer for tunnel related productions.
- To start my own brand of flying related apparel.
- To develop ways for young flyers to afford to train and compete.
I have so many different thoughts.... I am working on a few of them here and there, but to be honest I have always let the wind blow me where it wants to. For me, I have always found that too much planning was a waste of time.
Amy and Jeff Provenzano
We all know you shred in the tunnel. Where do you think is in the future in regard to indoor skydiving?
The future of the tunnel looks really bright -- So many tunnels everywhere! People are getting exposed to the sport all over the world. Tunnel competitions are happening everywhere. The new generation of flyers are doing such incredible things. There is a 36-foot tunnel being built!
It has exploded so fast in the last 8 years...
I have never been very good at predicting the future, but I would say Dynamic 4 Way will become more and more popular as a competitive discipline and it will attract the attention of the public like no other aspect of our sport has. I think Free Style and Free Routines will be more and more adored by the public as an art. People will want to see it -- this will open many doors for many people.
What I can tell you for sure is that all the great things I have witnessed happen in evolve our sport has been born and nurture by passionate people, that love to fly, work from the heart and simply figure out ways to make really cool things happen
Amy And Ryan Casserly @iFly Westchester
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