American archer Brady Ellison seeks an elusive gold medal in his 5th Olympics | The National Sport

Brady Ellison wants to further secure his place at the top of archery history.

The 35-year-old American qualified for his fifth Olympics, first competing in 2008 in Beijing. He won three Olympic medals and spent a significant amount of time at No. 1 in the world in the appeal.

He wants more. He is currently ranked No. 4 in the world and feels like he has a legitimate shot at that elusive Olympic gold medal. He achieved silver in the team competition in 2012 and 2016 and a bronze in the individual competition in 2016.

Taking into account all his other achievements, he believes that reaching the top of the podium in Paris would undoubtedly place him among the greatest of the greatest.

“A goal of mine has always been to be one of the best that ever lived,” he said. “I still feel like I’m shooting well. I’m still one of the best archers in the world.”

He had moments when he looked possible to win the gold. He entered the Tokyo Olympics ranked No. 1 in the world, but lost in the quarterfinals to Turkey’s Mete Gazoz.

“I wouldn’t say nothing necessarily went wrong,” he said. “I missed when I couldn’t miss. I had an opportunity and I should have won the set when I didn’t win a set. I thought it was windy, I read it wrong. I shot one to the right and then the next arrow I shot to the left. If either of them had hit then it would have been a different game.”

Ellison exudes confidence and transmits that to others. He has teamed up with Casey Kaufhold, the women’s world number 1, with great success. The pair won gold at the 2019 Pan American Games in the mixed team event when Kaufhold was 15.

Kaufhold recalls how helpful Ellison was as a mentor in the run-up to these Pan-Am Games.

“And he could tell I was hesitant,” Kaufhold said. “He could tell I was a little nervous. And he talked to me a lot about making sure, even though this sounds huge, not to do anything special. Just do what you know how to do, shoot and have fun. And so it helped me a lot through a lot of things.”

Ellison is relatively healthy now after dealing with painful injuries and medical issues over the years. As a child, he suffered from Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease and wore leg braces. He had surgery to stabilize one of his knees so it wouldn’t come out of the socket just by walking. He injured the fingers of his drawing hand and had hip problems. At last year’s Pan American Games, he injured a shoulder joint and collarbone.

None of this made him think about reducing or giving up sports.

“I’m good at it,” he said. “I’ve managed to stay in the top seven in the world since 2010. I’m the highest paid guy in the US and that’s all I do. That’s how I pay my bills and all that. So I’m going to keep fighting and you’re going to rehabilitate me and I’m going to keep pushing through everything I can so I don’t have to get a real job.”

Ellison’s outgoing personality blends well with the energy of the crowds. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were no crowds in Tokyo. He is looking forward to shooting in front of the fans.

“I definitely think you feed off the crowd,” he said. “I think that’s true with any sport. And, it’s a lot different when you’re shooting the biggest tournament you’ve ever shot in your life and there’s crickets in the stadium versus people who can come up behind you and cheer you on and make noise.”

While he would like to bring home the gold, he understands that a lot has to go right for that to happen.

“That’s the thing about the Olympics,” he said. “When it comes to that finals day, that medal day, whoever’s still in it, they’re getting hot, they’re going to be very hard to beat no matter who they’re shooting against.”

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