As most people have been preparing for a Thanksgiving meal where they sit down with family and loved ones, Oro Valley resident Tiffany Lamb has been building up her strength and flexibility for jumping out of a plane over Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Lamb and her skydiving partner and cameraman Travis Mills won a gold medal earlier this month in the freestyle competition at the 2012 U.S. Parachute Association National Skydiving Competitions, at Skydive Arizona in Eloy. This was their third consecutive year taking the top spot.
Finishing in high ranks qualified the duo to now travel to Dubai were they will compete in the world’s largest skydiving competition. They will be competing against 1,400 skydivers from 56 countries through December.
The competition will be fierce, as the best of the best will be competing for world gold.
Lamb said they are very critical of themselves and their routine heading into every competition, including this one.
“Travis and I, we really nitpick our routines,” said Lamb, 33. “We want to make sure that everything is as perfect as possible. So with camera angles and distance from each other, vertical distance and horizontal distance, my form, his framing; we nitpick everything because we are both perfectionists about our performance.”
Lamb, who by day works as a senior scientist at Ventana Medical Systems, grew up in Illinois, and participated in 13 years of gymnastics and three years of diving. She later received her undergraduate degree from the University of Indianapolis, got her Masters Degree from the University of Illinois, in Chicago, and received her PHD from Rush University.
But one doesn’t suddenly become a gold medalist in freestyle skydiving.
“Back in 2001, I was out to dinner with a friend of mine and we were talking about stuff that you want to do someday,” she recalled from her time in Chicago. “I said, ‘Well, you know, Chicago is a big city. We should be able to find a place somewhere around here to go skydive.’”
And, that they did. But, on the day of the tandem jump, her friend called and told Lamb she wasn’t going to be able to make it.
“So I went out there by myself and did a tandem on a Saturday,” Lamb said. “The following Monday I went back out and did another one. And then that day I signed up for the training course to become a licensed skydiver.”
After working on different routines and choreography over the years, she decided to enter her first competition in 2006. She and her cameraman took fourth place. In 2007, they took third and qualified for the U.S. team. Her first international competition was in 2008.
“I really appreciate the support that I have received from all of my family and friends,” she said.
This year, she and Mills will take seven jumps over the Palm Islands, in what she is hoping will be gorgeous weather for her first trip to Dubai.