The World Archery Championships take place Oct. 15-22 in Mexico City, and the United States is sending a strong team of recurve archers led by three-time U.S. Olympian Brady Ellison for the men and five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig for the women.
From that depth of experience to Thomas Stanwood and Eliana Claps, who are making their world championship debuts, this should be a promising week of competition for Team USA medal hopes.
Here are some storylines to watch as the event kicks off.
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Brady Ellison Is Ready To Take Center Stage, Again
At one time “The Pup” of the U.S. recurve archery team because he was the youngest, the 28-year-old is now called “The Prospector” because of his knack for winning medals.
Originally from Glendale, Arizona, the three-time Olympic medalist — he won team silver medals in Rio and London, and an individual bronze medal in Rio — is now the clear leader on the U.S. team.
His individual medal at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 was the first for a U.S. archer since Vic Wunderle won a silver medal in 2000. Now Ellison is hoping to better his world championship performance from 2013, when he won gold in team and silver in mixed team.
Ellison enters the world championships on a high note, having won a silver medal in the World Cup Final in August as well as an individual silver medal and two mixed team bronze medals in 2017 world cups. He is also the first recurve archer in history to win four World Cup Final titles, having done so in 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016.
Ellison, who is making his sixth Team USA appearance at worlds, is also notable for overcoming Perthes disease, a rare leg condition that required him to wear leg braces as a child.
Youth And Experience Surround Mackenzie Brown On Women’s Team
The U.S. women won a silver medal in the team event at the Shanghai Archery World Cup in May, the squad’s first world cup medal in nearly two years, and they could be on the podium again in Mexico City.
The team is led by 2016 Olympian Mackenzie Brown, who dominated at the U.S. championships and has won four medals on the world cup circuit this year. This marks her second world championships appearance.
Lorig, who competed for Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, is a five-time Olympian after competing for the Unified Team in 1992, and for Georgia in 1996 and 2000. She’s also the woman who taught Jennifer Lawrence how to shoot a bow for “The Hunger Games” movies.
The third spot is owned by Claps, an 18-year-old college student who defeated LaNola Shepherd in a one-arrow shoot-off to claim the final spot on the team. Shepherd was part of the silver-medal-winning team in Shanghai. Claps has experience from two junior worlds — both in Mexico — and is considered a rising star.
En Route To Olympic Debut, Mixed Team Is Looking Good
The makeup for this new Olympic discipline won’t be determined until after the qualifications, when the highest male shooter and highest female shooter will be selected to represent their country in the event.
Still, Team USA has looked solid in the event this year.
Ellison and Brown have been the constants this season by helping the mixed team to world cup bronze medals in Salt Lake City and Berlin. Ellison and Lorig also won the event at a 2016 world cup in Shanghai.
This is the seventh year the mixed team event is being held at the world championships. It was tested at the first two Youth Olympic Games before being added on to the official program for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Coming Off Silvers, Ellison And Kaminski Lead Men’s Team Toward Gold
Ellison and Jake Kaminski are back after having won silver medals together in the team event at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. They also were on the U.S. team that won a gold medal at the 2013 world championships.
Alongside Ellison and Kaminski, 29, is Thomas Stanwood. A newcomer to the squad this year, the 39-year-old Stanwood is a lawyer who took some time off from competition to focus on his law degree and emerged refocused on archery for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.