Albany skydiver to compete in world championship in Russia

Skydiver Chris Gay along with other teammates will represent the United States in the 2020 World Parachuting Championships in Russia. (Source: Gustavo Cabana Imaging)
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -- An Albany man is winning medals in the sky.

Skydiver Chris Gay will soon head to Russia for the World Parachuting Championship.

“Our plan is, depending on what our team decides, is to make somewhere between 300 to 500 practice jumps to prepare for this one,” said Gay.

Gay is already thinking about next year’s international competition.

He, along with other teammates, will represent the United States in the 2020 World Parachuting Championships in Russia.

Earlier this month, Gay earned his spot on the team by winning the gold medal during the US Parachute Association National Parachuting Championships.

“We were very fortunate to win nationals like we did. We only had three practice jumps for this particular event which is a very low number," explained Gay. “We’ve formed symbols for Honda for a commercial before, our main thing when we do large formations are diamonds. We did the 100-way world record back in 2007 which still stands today.”

After a recent accident, he thought his competing days were over.

Through hard work and inspirational chats with fellow divers and his nephew, his mind was changed.

“I broke my back in February while I was paragliding, which is a very different sport than skydiving, and at that point, I thought for sure I won’t be able to compete again. But I went through rehab and worked and worked and my nephew really wanted to compete. So I said, ‘You know what? I’ll do it with you.’ And it turned out to be a blast and we had a great time,” said Gay.

So exactly how many times has Gay jumped from a plane?

“A little over 16-thousand times," said Gay.

And if you’re wondering how a Georgia Tech student get involved in flying high in the skies — we asked.

“I happen to see the Georgia Tech team jump in and the very next weekend I went out to the drop zone, what we call the place where you train and made my first jump and that was back in 1986 and I haven’t stopped since then,” said Gay.

Gay said that as a kid, he always had an interest in the skies and wanted to fly.

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