Wolfe improves on 2008 performance, looks ahead
LONDON - Four years ago in Beijing, American archer Russell Wolfe (Widnoon, Pa.) competed in his first Paralympic Games. He finished 29th in his division and knew he wanted to improve on that performance.
This morning under chilly conditions at the Royal Artillery Barracks, he did just that.
Wolfe, an Army veteran who competes in the men’s individual recurve W1/W2, was the first American archer to compete today, taking on Johan Wildeboer of the Netherlands. Wolfe wasted no time showing off his skill set, opening with a 10 on the first shot. He continued to impress and dominated the match, winning the first set 28-25 and the next two sets, 26-24 and 26-24, respectively, for a 6-0 match win.
Wolfe admitted that he had been eagerly awaiting the start of the Games and was very satisfied with his performance this morning.
“It went the way I had been thinking about for the past six months now,” smiled Wolfe.
Although his first match went about as well as it could, he was not getting too far ahead of himself after the morning session and instead began focusing on his afternoon match against fourth-seeded Oscar de Pellegrin of Italy.
Unfortunately for Wolfe, the afternoon match did not go as planned as he struggled with his form. The result was a 6-0 loss to Pellegrin, one of the favorites to medal in this event.
“I did the one thing I should not have done,” commented Wolfe. “I didn’t follow my form, I forgot to watch my string alignment and that threw everything left and right.”
Although falling to Pellegrin and being eliminated from the competition was certainly disappointing for Wolfe, it did not put a damper on Wolfe’s Games experience, which for him has been highlighted by the camaraderie between him and his teammates as well as all the other athletes competing.
“It was a good experience,” said Wolfe. “It’s sport and we are competing but everyone out here has a disability and we all overcome them to do the sport we love.”
Wolfe said he plans to build on his experience in London and will now focus his training on preparing for other high-profile events.
“I am really looking forward to Worlds next year and doing it all over again,” said Wolfe.
In the immediate future Wolfe will shift his focus to supporting his teammates, much in the same way they supported him throughout his matches today.
“I will be supporting my team on the archery field until they are all the way done, which is hopefully medal time,” said Wolfe.
Wolfe was able to start supporting his teammates not long after his afternoon match as many of his teammates were also in action today.
In the men’s individual compound – open division, top seeded Matt Stutzman (Fairfield, Iowa) received a bye in the first round before beating Jiri Klich of Czechoslovakia in the next round by a score of 139 to 134. Also competing in the men’s individual compound – open division was Dugie Denton (Joliet, Mont), ret. Army. Denton performed well, garn
ering a perfect score of 30 in the third set to defeat Marian Marecak of Slovakia, 6-2.
Jeff Fabry (Lemoore, Calif.) received a bye from the first round of competition in the men’s individual compound – W1 division. He will compete in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
The Paralympic archery competition will run through Sept. 5.