Jeff Fabry misses semifinal round, perseveres for gold medal

By Connor Nolte | Dec. 25, 2012, 12 p.m. (ET)

Jeff Fabry
At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Jeff Fabry became the first gold medalist for USA Archery in the Olympic or Paralympic Games since 1996.

Highlighted by the London 2012 Paralympic Games, called the greatest Games ever by International Paralympic Committee President Sir Philip Craven, 2012 was a thrilling year for the Paralympic Movement in the United States and around the globe. Records were broken and legacies were made. From Dec. 20-31, will unveil the Top 12 moments of 2012 for U.S. Paralympics in chronological order.

London's Royal Artillery Barracks was the scene of one of the most dramatic contests of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. After shattering his bow in the semifinals on Sept. 3, Jeff Fabry prevailed to make it to the gold medal match where he became the first American archer to win a Paralympic Games gold since 1984.

“On the follow-through [from the last shot of second set] the bow slipped out of my hand. As soon as the cam [the pulley device] hit the ground, the strings went,” Fabry explained. It was then that a win, which would give him an appearance in the gold medal contest, seemed unlikely.

In the semifinal match of the men's compound W1 against Norbert Murphy of Canada, Fabry was seemingly in control of the set 3-1. He won the first set handily and dramatically shot a 10 point bulls-eye on the final shot of the second set to tie. On that final shot, Fabry’s bow slipped and crashed to the ground.

 “I normally do have a second bow and I always bring it with me,” he said. “But I had left it in the tent and I didn't know if they (the officials) were going to give me the time.”

With a trip to the gold medal match on the line, Fabry was without a functional bow. After conferencing with his coach, Fabry frantically made his way back to the practice facility to retrieve his backup bow.

In the meantime, the match went on without him. Murphy scored an eight on his first shot.

No sign of Fabry.

His shot clock ran down to zero and he was awarded no points.

Murphy aimed and fired off his second shot. Once again, eight points. Another zero for Fabry who was still nowhere to be found when his 20 second shot timer expired again.

Murphy took his third and final shot of the set and awaited Fabry’s return. Fabry made it back to the shooting line just as the horn sounded to end of his third turn. Not only was he was unable to make a shot in the third round, he was not even able to attempt one.

Fabry started off the fourth round right where he left off before the bow woes. He won the round 27-26 and finished off the eventual London 2012 Paralympic Games bronze medalist Murphy in the fourth round with a score of 27-22.

Not a bad win for someone who missed an entire round.

"That's about as much excitement as I want to have,” he said. “I'm just happy to get through that match."

In the gold medal match, Fabry faced off against the defending gold medalist from the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, David Drahoninsky of the Czech Republic. After winning the first set by shooting three 10s for a score of 30-29, Fabry dropped the second set 29-26.

Fabry bounced back and secured the gold medal by winning the fourth and fifth sets, both by scores of 29-27. “We came here and did hard work and got the job finished,” Fabry said.

It is the first gold medal for USA Archery in the Olympic or Paralympic Games since 1996.

 “I have achieved another step on the archery platform,” said Fabry, who won bronze at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. “Winning gold has taken me three (Paralympic) Games so I'm proud.”

Jamie M. Blanchard contributed to this report.