The countdown to the Olympics continues to get smaller by the day. Soon the action will be right in our living rooms, and we’ll be cheering on the incredible athletes representing our country. It’s always nice to put a name to face, but even better learn someone’s story. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the backstories of the elite archers on team USA.
Mackenzie Brown was born in Flint, Texas, in 1995. Her introduction to archery was through the National Archery in the Schools Program. She gained moment quickly with a natural talent for the sport, shooting for a Junior Olympic Archery Development club, then USA Archery’s Junior Dream Team at age 13. She tried for a spot in the 2012 Olympics at the age of 16, and managed to place in the top 16. From there, she went on to become a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Brown, now 21, had a strong showing throughout the entire Olympic qualifying process, earning an individual and team gold at the Archery World Cup in Poland last August, and then taking home a silver in the World Cup Final in Las Vegas. Mackenzie Brown ultimately placed first during the Team USA Olympic Trials in Chula Vista, and since the US Women’s team didn’t manage to qualify for a spot in the 2016 Rio Games, Brown was named as the sole female archer for Team USA. She’s also been affectionately dubbed the “Girl on Fire” as an homage to Katniss Everdeen. Regardless of how she performs in Rio, I think it’s safe to say we’ll see great things from Mackenzie Brown.
Brady Ellison, born in 1988 in Glendale, Arizona, started his archery career at the age of 7 with his first compound bow. He later killed a bear with that bow at age 11. He currently holds a world record for being the number one ranked men’s recurve archer for the longest continuous period, which lasted from August 2011 to April 2013. His career as an archer is impressive, to say the least. He has received six medals in World Cup competitions, five of which have been gold. He’s also earned an Olympic silver medal, World Archery Indoor Championship bronze medal, and two Pan American Games gold medals. He also received the 2013 world title after competing with a broken hand.
Zach Garrett was born in Wellington, Missouri, in 1995. He was introduced to archery around the age of four when his grandfather gave him a homemade wooden bow. Garrett, now 21, is currently ranked No. 3 in the world. His notable career highlights include: 2015 World Archery Youth Championships, team silver medal; 2015 AAE Arizona Cup, bronze medal; Texas Shootout, gold medal; 2014 U.S. National Target Championships, bronze medal; and 2014 U.S. Open, silver medal. This will be his first time competing in the Olympic Games.
Jake Kaminski was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1988. He competed in the 2012 Olympic Games, bringing home a team silver medal with Brady Ellison and Jacob Wukie. His long list of career highlights include: 2014 Pan American Championships, individual gold; 2014 Archery World Cup Stage 2, team bronze; 2014 AAE Arizona Cup, team gold; 2013 World Archery Championships, team gold; 2013 Archery World Cup Stage 4, team silver; 2013 Archery World Cup Stage 3, team bronze; 2012 World Archery Indoor Championships medalist individual silver, team gold; 2012 World Archery Field Championships, team gold; 2012 National Field Champion; 2012 World Cup Team gold medalist; three time 2011 World Cup Team gold medalist; 2011 Pan American Games Team gold medalist; and 2011 London Archery Classic Team gold medalist.