Olympic bound: Two Mathews Pro-Staffers head for Beijing, China!
Olympic bound: Two Mathews Pro-Staffers head for Beijing, China!July 31, 2008 - Joel
#1 rated United States Male – Brady Ellison, Mathews Solocam Pro Staff will go to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China
He's in Sitting in first place after two different stages of the U.S. Trials (held in late September and early April), Brady Ellison finished the job during the first weekend in May in Phoenix, Ariz., winning the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials and his first-ever Olympic berth.
Lucky break As told by his mother on the website she dedicated to following Brady's archery career, Ellison's Olympic start began with one broken string. While at a camp in 2005, Ellison, who was a world-class compound bow archer (compound is not an Olympic discipline), had a malfunction with his equipment in the form of a snapped string. Unable to fix it, he waited for his parents to send along a backup bow. While waiting, a friend allowed him to use one of his recurve bows. Ellison used it, showcased a lot of talent and even more potential and soon got on his path to the Olympics after talking with coaches who convinced him to make the switch.
Solidifying their team With a 218-213 win over Japan in the first round of the 2007 World Archery Championships, Ellison, Butch Johnson and Vic Wunderle clinched three individual quotas and one team quota for the United States. As it stood after the second trials, that same team would be making its way to Beijing. "Butch and I are good friends," Ellison said following the second trials in Chula Vista. "I've had the opportunity to travel with him for the last year and a half, shooting with him in international tournaments. I've learned so much from him and Vic Wunderle also. … It's a lot of fun, and I love shooting with those guys."
A mentor for the prodigy Butch Johnson, in the late 1990s, served as a coach for women's U.S. hopeful Karen Scavotto. And even though he and Ellison are sometimes direct competitors, as seen on the final day of the second leg of the trials when the youngster beat the four-time Olympian, he still serves as soothsayer for the Arizona phenom who is in his first four years of international recurve competition. "We work well as a team, so I think it would be great if we both made (it)," Ellison said of Johnson.
Ready for the biggest stage Just because he is only 19 with an easy-going personality doesn't mean that the importance of the Olympic Games is lost on Ellison. "It's going to be amazing," he said. "It's where you go out and compete in front of your fans … you get to represent your country. It's the highest podium an athlete can put themselves on. There's nothing bigger than the Olympics. It's where everyone trains, where everyone gives up everything for a shot at a medal. And … it's just going to mean so much to me. It's going to be very emotional."
#3 rated United States Male – Vic Wunderle (3 time Olympian) Mathews Solocam Pro Staff will go to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China
Holding on for Beijing During the three-stage Olympic Trials, Vic Wunderle never fell out of the top three an important item, given there were only three quotas to be had for the U.S. but his Olympic qualification certainly had the most drama attached to it, as he held a slight lead going into the final day of competition. But the two-time Olympian, who actually won the 2004 and 2000 Trials, closed the door early with a 4-3 round-robin match record on the last day and a third-best score of 769. Wunderle joins Brady Ellison and Butch Johnson as members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
Only fitting It might have been painful for the 2002 Texas A&M graduate to miss out on these Games, considering Wunderle helped earned the quota spots that were up for grabs at the Trials. Along with Ellison and Johnson, he was a part of the sixth-place team at the 2007 World Championships that earned three quota spots for the U.S.
Looking for the set Wunderle's first Olympic trip resulted in two medals a silver for his individual performance and a bronze for the team competition. His 2004 trip was still a positive one but lacked the same results with just a quarterfinal appearance in the individual competition and a fourth-place finish in the team.
Small-town beginnings From the small rural location of Mason City, Ill., Wunderle got his start in shooting at the age of five when his dad, Terry, made him a bow from a limb off a willow tree. Vic would practice shooting at stumps and trees with the child-proofed version of his bow Terry put cloth over the arrow and taped up the bow to prevent Vic from hurting himself. His sisters, Sally and Dawn, both competed in the sport as well. Sally, now with the last name of Seipp-Wunderle, is ranked in the top 200 in the world for women's compound.
All-American Aggie From a graduating class of 65 in his high school, Wunderle ventured down to College Station, Texas, to be part of a much bigger school in Texas A&M. He lived in a trailer his freshman year to stay in the cheapest housing possible and was an NCAA All-American in 1995, 1997 and 1998. He postponed his senior year to concentrate on training. He finished school in December 2002 with a major in wildlife and fisheries.
For more information visit www.nbcolympics.com. Athlete bio's were retrieved from NBC Olympics. All rights reserved.