Olympics 2012: USA Archers Take Silver for First American Medal
WESTMINSTER, England — You don’t get any closer to winning gold than the U.S. male archers did Saturday at Lord’s Cricket Grounds, a place so quintessentially British you expected them to interrupt the competition for tea time.
The Americans vanquished the reigning superpower of the sport in the Olympic team semifinals. They got the better of the most famous visually impaired athlete in the sport — a man who set a world record before the Opening Ceremony began.
They were one stunningly nerveless shot away from their first gold medal since they won in Atlanta in 1996.
They wound up settling for a silver, and the first U.S. medal of the games — and didn’t feel as if they were settling at all.
“I think everything happens for a reason. I’m really excited to win a silver medal,” said Brady Ellison, 23, of Globe, Ariz.
Said Kisik Lee, the U.S. coach who has made dramatic improvements since taking over the team in 2006: “It would’ve been better to win a gold medal, but (archery is so competitive these days), every medal is great.”
Ellison and teammates Jacob Wukie of Oak Harbor, Ohio, and Jake Kaminski of Elma, N.Y., managed a shocking upset in the semis, knocking out South Korea, the three-time defending Olympic champion, 224-219, as all three U.S. archers hit the bull's-eye from 70 meters away on their final shots.
Im Dong-hyun broke his own world record Friday in the 72-arrow event, scoring 699 of a possible 720, a feat that triggered widespread reports about “the blind archer.”
Im has a visual impairment, but he insists his disability has been “very exaggerated,” and drives a car without glasses. Besides, he is far-sighted so hitting a target he describes As looking like “a drop of paint in the water” is no huge issue.
After South Korea won the bronze over Mexico, the U.S. battled Italy for the gold, and held a 218-209 lead going into the final shot of the competition. Up stepped Michele Frangilli, a hefty 36-year-old and five-time world champion. An eight would give the U.S. a gold, a nine would force a one-minute shoot-off.
Frangilli hit the bullseye for a 10, ending years of Olympic frustration.
“I’ve been chasing this medal for 16 years,” Frangilli said. “I knew that I had to score 10. I felt incredible pressure. So I decided to empty my mind of all this.”
By Daily News, 29/07/2012