Twenty- three year old Michiko Kawaragi has made the trek from Japan to Skydive Arizona twice in the past six months. Her goal, to make as many skydives as she can afford. With 600 + jumps to her credit, this quiet yet friendly young woman has a dream, and that dream is centered on competing in the Open class division of freestyle skydiving.
To become skilled in any sport it requires, dedication, discipline, a great deal of practice and a first-rate coach. Michiko's limited funds would not afford her the opportunity to hire a coach let alone do the volume of jumps required to reach her objective. Sometimes however, good fortune smiles down upon us and we receive a gift when we least expect it. Such is the case for this aspiring young flyer.
At the behest of a close friend, Michiko was encouraged to enter an online essay contest sponsored by Snickers® candy bar entitled: "Dream Support." The criteria set forth was to write a 200 word essay detailing the dream and what it would take to make it come true. The winning entry would receive $10,000 U.S. and those funds would have to be spent within a 3 months period solely on the pursuit of that dream.
Michiko received a phone call at 3:00 am one morning while in Arizona informing her that she had won the essay contest!
Early the next morning, Michiko went in search of former World Freestyle Champion Omar Alhegelan. Michiko was in high hopes that Omar would have room in his busy schedule to coach her. She was thrilled to learn that he would indeed have time. Michiko was soon on her way to making a dream come true.
Michiko admits that there is a great deal work to do before she has honed her skills enough to compete as a guest at the U.S. Nationals. She does aspire at some point to be invited to a World Meet. For now she is eager to continue her tutelage under Omar, and feels honored and privileged for the opportunity. Michiko offers that with proper coaching she has been able to make some very noticeable progress, none of which would have been possible without a sweet dream or a sweet tooth.
Photo: Jason Peters