USA Archery, in the words of CEO and three-time Olympian Denise Parker, knows what it’s like to come home empty-handed. After a crushing defeat at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, USA Archery hired National Head Coach KiSik Lee to overhaul its coaching and athlete-development systems beginning in 2005. Using a method of shooting that Lee designed, the organization expanded its youth and national development programs and changed its coaching certification program in order to ensure consistency across the board.
By instituting the first truly regimented resident athlete training program that archery had ever seen, and funding full teams to international events, the U.S. has began to see success at domestic and international events. Brady Ellison has risen to archery superstardom in the years since Beijing; with Ellison leading the way, new national records have been set and broken repeatedly across the United States, and the U.S. is finally keeping up with – and exceeding – its primary competitors in archery: Korea, India, China and Japan.
In 2012, Ellison will look to continue his success on the global stage. In the past year alone, he has become the first U.S. archer ever to win the World Cup final, and is now the first recurve archer ever to win two consecutive World Cup stages (April and June 2011). Consistently topping the previously unstoppable Korean men, Ellison has led the top recurve men to raise their own bars for performance, which has had an amazing ripple effect within all age categories competing in the United States.
Meanwhile, the U.S. women’s team has struggled much more than its male counterpart to find success on the international competition circuit. The last Olympic medal won by a women’s team or individual was in Seoul in 1988 – a team that featured Denise Parker as a member. Twenty-three years later, the team of Khatuna Lorig, Miranda Leek and Jennifer Nichols stormed onto the field at the recent World Cup in Antalya, Turkey, just a month after being matched as the upcoming women’s World Archery Championships team. Stunning the entire archery world, the team shot its way through match after match, edging out powerhouse India in the semifinals to win silver against Korea in the final.
This team has shown that it can win – and now the women face a tough road ahead: first, each of them must earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team through a rigorous three-event trials process – and second, they must qualify the remaining two women’s Olympic quota spots with a top-three finish at the Team Qualification Tournament in Odgen, Utah, in June 2012. Having outshot the men’s team with high scores at recent training camps, this U.S. women’s recurve team has proved that it can beat the best archers in the world.
Together, the established talent of Ellison and the men’s recurve team and newly formed women’s trio of Lorig, Leek and Nichols, show the greatest promise for Olympic medals that the United States has seen in decades.
- Brady Ellison, who has climbed his way to a number one world ranking and has propelled the U.S. men’s recurve team to the number one spot, will be seeking gold at his second Olympic Games after a 27th place finish in Beijing.
- Khatuna Lorig will be seeking her fifth Olympic Team nomination. She has a very unique story, having competed for the Unified Team, the Republic of Georgia, and – in 2008 – the United States. Her stories of training by candlelight as a young archer are simply amazing. She was also the Closing Ceremony flag bearer for the U.S. in Beijing.
- Miranda Leek is the 18-year-old “thunderbolt” archer from Des Moines, Iowa, who turned the women’s division upside down in the last six months, beating out older and more experienced rivals for a turn on the World Archery Championships team. Together with Khatuna Lorig and Jennifer Nichols, the team has outshot the U.S. men, and beat out India for the silver medal at a recent World Cup.
- Miranda Leek, together with Khatuna Lorig, qualified a single spot for the U.S. women at the World Archery Championships, and now must look toward a Team Qualification Tournament in Odgen, Utah, in June 2012 to determine whether the U.S. will send a full team of women to the Olympic Games, or have a repeat of 2008, when only two quota spots were secured.
- KiSik Lee, the U.S. National Head Coach for archery, will be looking for his athletes to medal, again proving the worth of the specific method of shooting that he brought to the U.S. in 2005. USA Archery built its coaching and athlete-development programs around Lee, arguably the greatest archery coach in the world.
- In the list of contenders for the men’s spots is Butch Johnson, five-time Olympian and team gold/bronze medalist. Part of the team that won the last gold medal for the U.S. in archery, Johnson will be looking for his sixth Olympic berth.
- Jacob Wukie was the U.S. Olympic Team alternate in 2008. After completing his college degree at James Madison University, Wukie returned to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., to focus full-time on becoming part of the 2012 team.
- Brady Ellison
- Jake Kaminski
- Jacob Wukie
- Joe Fanchin
- Vic Wunderle
- Butch Johnson
- Khatuna Lorig
- Jennifer Nichols
- Miranda Leek
- Karen Scavotto
- Stephanie Miller
- Heather Koehl
USA Archery selects the U.S. Olympic Team for archery with a three-event trials process (called Nomination Shoots). The first event takes place in September and is open to all USA Archery members who meet the criteria for competition. This event will begin with a 144 arrow, 70 meter ranking round. The top sixteen archers per gender from the ranking round will continue to round-robin match play, and will be ranked based on a variety of factors, including matches won and average scores. The second Nomination Shoot will continue with round-robin matches, and will cut the field to eight archers per gender. The third and final Nomination Shoot will again have the final eight archers compete in round-robin match play, and will cut the field to three Olympic Team members and an alternate for each gender.
- July 10, 2011: The U.S. completes the World Archery Championships, having secured three men’s quota spots and a single women’s quota spot for the 2012 Olympic Games.
- July 31, 2011: Pan American Games Team Trials in Yankton, S.D., which will also select the team for the London Test Event in October
- Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2011: U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Archery, First Nomination Shoot – College Station, Texas
- Oct. 3-10, 2011: Olympic Test Event – London
- Oct. 17-22, 2011: Pan American Games – Guadalajara, Mexico
- April 23-28, 2012: U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Archery, Second Nomination Shoot – Chula Vista, Calif. (Paralympic Team Selection Event from the 25-28 at same location)
- June 1-3, 2012: U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Archery, Third Nomination Shoot – Colorado Springs, Colo.
- June 18-24, 2012: Team Qualification Tournament – Ogden, Utah
Athlete Social Media
- Khatuna Lorig - @khatunalorig