Natasha Lovato / NewsBreak Denver
(Parker, Colo.) Indoor skydiving might not be a typical extracurricular activity, but diving through the air and winning championships is almost second nature for one high school student.
Incoming junior at Ponderosa High School in Parker, Sydney Kennett, has been indoor skydiving since she was 8 years old. Since then, Kennett brought home gold at the Wind Games in Barcelona, the U.S. Junior National Championship four times in a row, and silver most recently at the World Cup of Indoor Skydiving in Barcelona.
"It is really cool to be able to compete at these competitions because it's like we have this group of friends that come from all over the world," Kennett said. "My parents work very, very hard to make that happen and I've learned so much about different people and cultures from around the world—I am so thankful for all of that."
On top of being a world champion at indoor skydiving, Kennett is your typical 16-year-old girl. She loves her dog, dirt biking, skiing, snowboarding, and pole vaulting on her school's track and field team. She's also itching to get her driver's license this month. After she graduates, Kennett also wants to help other kids along their indoor skydiving journey.
"I want to start coaching people all around the world," Kennett said. "I really like coaching and passing along the knowledge of indoor skydiving that I was able to learn along the way. I've been super lucky to have some of the best fliers and coaches in the world come through my life and have learned so much."
Kennett sheepishly admitted she fears heights. She's warming up to skydiving outside, which she can do legally at 18. For now, Kennett is sticking to what she knows, hoping that indoor skydiving will become an Olympic sport.
Kennett explained that the sport is undergoing growth, especially with judging the tricks with complexity ratings.
"In gymnastics, there is a code of rules so everyone knows exactly what their difficulty score is before they start competing. I feel like that will be a very important bridge for indoor skydiving freestyle to cross if we want to be taken seriously," she said.
Kennett looks forward to the day she can showcase her signature moves, The Scorpion and The Stinger, on an Olympic platform or perhaps coach others into winning titles.