The jaunty young man at left is Christopher Wetherley White, onetime Cambridge oarsman now at Harvard Medical School—so his bowler and weskit are understandable. But why the broad smile on his face and why the fancy dog-show ribbon on his coat? Because Christopher has just won the first U.S. collegiate parachuting competition.
Since some jumpers of modest experience showed up for this college meet at Woodbury, Conn., men with fewer than five jumps were required to use static line parachutes as a safety measure. As their shroud lines spun out, these apprentices (below) looked like wild dancing puppets, but in general performance of the collegians was heartening to the experts. As the judges congratulated Dartmouth's Charley Hotchkiss for an almost certain win 39 feet off target, out of the plane jumped Christopher Wetherley-White, gauging the wind perfectly, straight for the target cross. At 200 feet a quartering wind blew him off, but Chris White rode his risers smartly. His feet hit the cross 9 feet 3½ inches from dead center. Chris White beamed, then had a sobering second thought. "I told the school I was skipping clinic for an important engagement," he pondered. "When they read about this, I'll be in something of a mess."
Medical student Chris White parachuted in Army and entered college meet to help promote the sport in U.S.
Harvard sophomore Brad Straus, making second jump, tries to stabilize as static line extends behind him.
May 19, 1957
Harvard novice Henry Childs on first jump seemingly does adagio dance as lines uncoil from deployment bag.
Winner Chris White grins as helpers remove reserve pack. "When there's wind," said White, "the last 50 feet is luck."