Three-time Olympic medalist Brady Ellison and 2016 Olympian Mackenzie Brown proved to be the winning combination Sunday in Salt Lake City.
Competing together in recurve mixed team at the third Archery World Cup stop of the season, Ellison and Brown won the gold-medal final against Russia 5-3.
Sunday’s victory could be a huge step toward the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, at which mixed team will make its Olympic debut.
It marked the first time Ellison and Brown had competed together in world cup action this year, but the two did team up to win a bronze medal at the same event one year ago in Salt Lake City.
This is the first time Americans won gold in recurve mixed team in over two years. Ellison and five-time Olympian Khatuna Lorig won the Shanghai World Cup in May 2016. Ellison and Brown won gold there in 2014.
“I think for us, we’ve worked really well together," Brown told USA Archery. "It’s definitely really cool to get the win here. It means the world to have our fans behind us and have Americans in the stands cheering us on.”
The U.S. just missed the podium in the women’s recurve team tournament. Brown, Lorig and Erin Mickelberry lost 5-1 to Japan in the bronze-medal match. They defeated China in the quarterfinals but lost to Chinese Taipei in the semifinals.
The next world cup stop is July 16-22 in Berlin.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.