Gianna Keuer Talks Bodyflight Ahead of Belgium World Cup
The 15-year-old Illinois high schooler is a member of the first U.S. all-female 4-Way Dynamic team and will fly in Belgium at the FAI World Cup this April.
15-year-old Gianna Keuer isn’t just any old high schooler. She’s one of the best indoor skydivers in the nation. Her 4-way dynamic team, made up entirely of teenage girls, beat out squads of highly-trained adult flyers to very nearly take first place in the El Paso National Championships last fall (they ultimately came in second place).
Keuer’s training, as a result, is nothing short of top-of-the-line. She began flying at the age of 10, when she discovered the sport during a school field trip to the iFLY tunnel in Naperville, Chicago (one of three tunnels in the Windy City—I’m jealous). Keuer noted that she was also inspired by her mother, Courtney Desmond, an avid skydiver who has logged over 200 jumps.
Keuer isn’t just an avid flyer, however. She also regularly volunteers with the nonprofit Hope’s In. Her work with the organization involves educating and empowering at-risk teenage girls who live in Guatemala City’s notorious “garbage dump” communities. Keuer, a fluent Spanish speaker, has volunteered with the nonprofit for the past five years.
When she’s not flying, the teen is hard at work as a sophomore at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls college-prep boarding school.
The experience of attending an all-girls, boarding-style high school is a fairly uncommon one in the United States, but Keuer believes it has helped her significantly when it comes to her career.
“One goal of my [indoor skydiving] team is to inspire girls to work hard and follow their dreams, and I believe that my experience at Woodlands has helped me do just that,” she said in a recent press release. “The school’s environment pushes me to work hard and set ambitious goals for myself… [and has] helped me build self-confidence in a community where I feel welcome and accepted. This confidence has enabled me to accomplish so much more than I could have imagined.”
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On flying, Keuer has gathered a variety of insights gleaned over five years in the sport. She shared a few tips for beginners with the Chicago news outlet Daily North Shore recently. “First you have to be able to stay stable in the tunnel in different positions before you can start to carve and use more fluid movements,” she said. “You have to get a feel for how the wind works, and it’s hard to know how to do that at first because there is so much wind and it can be confusing. Staying stable requires mental focus, core strength, and agility.”
“For speed, you can adjust how much surface area you use, like the wind in a sail,” she added. “If you are on your stomach, you will go high, but if you’re straight up exposing less surface area, you will drop. Using your body to catch the wind, pushes you where you want to go, but like anything, this takes practice.”
[For more on the art of bodyflight, check out our recent feature on Leonid Volkov, the mind behind TunnelSport, which is the world’s largest compendium of bodyflight positions. You can also read about Alexey Galda on our sister site, Skydiving Source. Galda is a talented theoretical physicist, and one of the world’s preeminent wingsuit flyers.]
Keuer’s 4-way dynamic team, Team Volare, also includes Jill Knutson (15), Bella Capra (13), and Colorado native Kiana Adamson (15), who luckily now has a new and improved iFLY tunnel to train Colorado Springs. At a whopping 40 feet high, it’s also the tallest tunnel in the nation!
Together, the quartet is the United States’ first all-female 4-way team to compete internationally, and with a silver medal under their belt from the recent El Paso National Championships, they’re definitely living up to the hype. They certainly seem to be taking their training seriously, too. Keuer recently posted an Instagram update showing herself and the other girls during a rigorous training sesh at the iFLY Paris tunnel.
But they’ll come up against stiff competition from the 400 some-odd flyers making their way to Belgium from around the world to compete.
Stay tuned here on ISS for more coverage about the upcoming FAI World Cup, which will be held at the Airspace tunnel in Charleroi, Belgium, and promises to be the biggest event in the history of our sport!
Published: March 29, 2022 | Last Updated: March 29, 2022
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