Casey Kaufhold, 17, scores silver at archery worlds, best for U.S. woman in 42 years

2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships, Yankton, South Dakota, USA
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Brady Ellison entered the 2021 World Archery Championships as the biggest U.S. storyline, but it was Casey Kaufhold who emerged the American headliner when competition ended on Sunday in Yankton, South Dakota.

The 17-year-old Kaufhold, who was fresh off her Olympic debut and a fourth-place finish at the World Archery Youth Championships, surprised the field to earn the silver medal.

She even defeated recent Olympic champion An San of Korea, 6-2, in the semifinal. Kaufhold had tied for 17th in Tokyo.

“I literally thought of it as I have nothing to lose,” Kaufhold, said to USA Archery. “I’m 17 and I’ve only been shooting international tournaments for like three years so why hold back. I put everything out there, didn’t hold back pretty much and that was my main goal, to leave it all out there on the stage.”

Kaufhold qualified fifth in the tournament, giving her a bye to the third round, where she won 6-2 over Ukraine’s Veronika Marchenko, the 2014 World indoor champion, before defeating Romania’s Madalina Amaistroaie 6-4 and India’s Ankita Bhakat 6-2 in the quarterfinal.

She fell in the gold-medal match to Jang Minhee, an Olympic champion for Korea in the team event, 6-0; San earned bronze.

Kaufhold’s world championship medal is the first by a U.S. woman since Denise Parker‘s bronze in 1989 (32 years ago) and the best result by a U.S. woman since Judi Adams‘ silver in 1979 (42 years ago).

“I didn’t have as good of a year previous as I would have liked but to end the senior international season with a silver at the world championships is just great,” Kaufhold said. “I’m super happy with how I shot, I kept myself composed throughout and I really just couldn’t be happier.”

Ellison, a four-time Olympian at 32 years old, took bronze later in the day and held on to his world No. 1 ranking.

The 2019 World champion and four-time Olympic medalist was a favorite to finally win his first Olympic gold in Tokyo. He was second in the ranking round, but had a surprising exit in the quarterfinals to eventual gold medalist Mete Gazoz of Turkey.

Looking to win the third individual world medal of his career and first on home soil, Ellison qualified third, then won 6-2 in the third round, 6-4 in the fourth and 6-0 – to this summer’s Olympic gold medalist in both men’s team and mixed team, Kim Je Deok – in the quarterfinal.

Ellison finally fell to Marcus D’Almeida of Brazil, 6-4, in the semifinal. It came down to D’Almeida’s 28 and Ellison’s 27 in the fifth and final set.

Ellison then avenged his Olympic loss, taking out Gazoz 6-2 in the battle for bronze. Korea’s Kim Woojin won the world title with a 7-3 victory over D’Almeida for his third world title.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. men’s recurve team of Ellison, Matthew Nofel and Jack Williams took silver in the team event, returning to that podium for the first time in eight years.

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Brady Ellison, Casey Kaufhold win U.S. Olympic Archery Trials

Brady Ellison
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Three-time Olympic medalist Brady Ellison and 17-year-old Casey Kaufhold are the first members of the U.S. Olympic archery team. They hope four more will join them before the Tokyo Games.

Ellison and Kaufhold won the Olympic Trials that finished Tuesday to earn the Olympic spots so far available.

The U.S. can still qualify full men’s and women’s teams at an event in Paris in late June. If they do, Jack Williams and Jacob Wukie and Mackenzie Brown and Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez are in line to join Ellison and Kaufhold in Tokyo.

Ellison, 32, earned two silvers and a bronze between the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. In 2019, he became the first American to win an individual world title in archery’s Olympic discipline — recurve — since 1985.

The last American to earn Olympic archery gold was Justin Huish, the ponytailed, backwards-cap wearing phenom who swept individual and team titles at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Kaufhold is in line to become the third-youngest U.S. Olympic archer ever after Denise Parker (14 in 1988) and Henry Richardson (15 in 1904), according to

Khatuna Lorig, a 47-year-old who competed at the Olympics in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2012, was ninth at Trials. Lorig memorably taught actress Jennifer Lawrence how to shoot a bow and arrow for the film, “The Hunger Games.”

LIST: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics

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Matt Stutzman, the Armless Archer, motivated by Rio equipment malfunction


Matt Stutzman placed a memento from the Rio Paralympics on his shelf in his Iowa home. Not to remember a celebratory moment, but to remind him of what must never happen again.

Four years ago, Stutzman, profiled across major media as the “Armless Archer,” went to the Games looking to improve upon his compound silver medal from the London Paralympics.

But Stutzman, after placing fourth in the initial ranking round, was stunned in the round of 16 by Brazilian Andrey Muniz de Castro, who was 20th in the ranking round and 33rd at the 2015 Worlds.

Castro upset Stutzman by one point. Of all his arrows, Stutzman remembers his last shot, where he scored an eight out of ten.

“Up to that point, he hadn’t shot anything out of the gold,” coach M.J. Rogers said, referring to the two innermost rings on the target. “So, nines and tens, they were just a given. All he needed to shoot was a nine, and then the eight popped up.”

After Stutzman did media interviews, he was handed his arrows. He noticed a crack in the final arrow’s nock and was convinced the equipment malfunction occurred before he used it. He kept the arrow and nock and now sees it regularly at home.

The slightest error can have a significant impact, given arrows are shot 200 miles per hour from 50 meters away.

“Never had one break like that,” Stutzman said. “It caused it to obviously not go where it was meant to go.”

Rogers said he bears responsibility for not inspecting the arrows before passing them from a runner to Stutzman that day in Rio.

“If I would have done to his arrows what I currently do with every arrow that I retrieve with any of the [archers], I would have noticed it,” he said. “In a big way, it’s my fault.”

Stutzman didn’t blame Rogers, who remains his coach.

“We put in a process to prevent that from happening again,” said the 37-year-old Stutzman, who Rogers believes is the only Paralympic medal hopeful who shoots with his feet. “What I’ve learned is I need to check them, especially at that level, after every shot and not just at the beginning of the event.”

Stutzman spoke to promote his appearance in “Rising Phoenix,” a film about the history of the Paralympic movement that premieres on Netflix this week. It also tells the stories of nine current Paralympians, including Stutzman, who was born without arms, adopted and then climbed to the top of a sport that relies on upper-body strength.

“Everybody who watches this is hopefully going to be in for a life-changing experience,” the father of three said.

What happened in Rio helped spark a major change in Stutzman’s life, too. He lost around 50 pounds since those Games, hiring a personal trainer and nutritionist.

“If I’m going to be a professional athlete, I need to play the part,” he said. “I can shoot all day without getting tired.”

It paid off at the 2019 World Championships. Stutzman was part of a U.S. men’s team that broke a world record in the ranking round (though they did not earn a medal). He also earned a first individual world medal, a bronze, competing on a rain-soaked platform that forced him to reset his chair after shots, Rogers said.

“I can only imagine what whole ‘nother year of me eating right — shooting and mentally training as well — will add to what I’ve got going into the next Games,” Stutzman said.

MORE: How the Olympics, Paralympics intersected over time

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