Newspaper article The Canadian Press

History Channel Documentary 'Sky Jumpers' Dives into Tragedies of the Sport

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

History Channel Documentary 'Sky Jumpers' Dives into Tragedies of the Sport

Article excerpt

'Sky Jumpers' dives into tragedies of sport


TORONTO - When record-breaking Canadian skydiver Jay Moledzki took his first jump at age 21, he hadn't predicted it would result in a drastic career change -- from elevator technician to professional athlete.

"I was pretty angry and depressed, I was pretty poor, I had a lot of bad cards dealt to me," said 41-year-old Moledzki in a phone interview from Sogne, Norway while on a month-long jumping expedition and recreational trip. "I thought it might be an easy way out -- I was kind of hoping the parachute wouldn't open."

Instead, it gave Moledzki a reason to live.

"That very first time when the parachute opened and my feet were on the ground again, I knew I was coming back to do it again as soon as possible," said Moledzki, who grew up in Toronto.

Twenty years after that jump at Skydive Toronto, a popular school for those new to the sport in Cookstown, Ont., Moledzki has done it 13,000 more times. He has become one of the most accomplished athletes in his field and is part of the Florida-based PD Factory Team profiled by a History Channel documentary airing July 21.

"'Sky Jumpers' is a documentary about world class athletes chasing the dream of human flight," said co-writer and director Hedy Korbee, a filmmaker and journalism professor based in Toronto.

Korbee followed the team over six years on their expeditions, shooting in spectacular locales ­-- from the Grand Canyon to Norwegian fiords.

Footage shot by Korbee's crew combined with shots from 20 GoPro and Sony cameras strapped to team members simulates the experience of the jumpers. Scenes from the skydivers' perspectives in particular convey the extreme emotions felt during a jump -- from stomach-churning moments where the team isn't able to see through clouds to the euphoria of swooping through mountain ranges.

"We were trying to tell a story that combined the excitement and the thrilling aspects of what the PD Team did with the very real human drama that unfolded," said Korbee.

Despite careful planning and a cautious approach, a string of accidents captured during filming in the Swiss Alps provides an inside look at the inevitable tragedy lurking behind the exhilaration in high risk sport. …

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