Well, it has been a while since I have made a blog post and wow what a time it has been. Team USA Archers flew THE American flag to London, went through processing, trained here in London and we won the first medal of the 2012 games for all of USA.
We started the 2012 Games off right by flying on the 16th out to London and brought the hand-made flag that is flown in the athlete village by hand and delivered it to the pilot on our United flight. There was lots of media excitement in the Chicago airport as we formally delivered it to the pilot where it rode in the cockpit overseas. Jacob Wukie and myself spent some time in the cockpit prior to our flight and chatted it up with the pilot and took some great photos in the cabin. We were treated like stars with premier boarding before first class and had several announcements to wish us well in our competition. It was definitely a great way to start off the trip getting the positive energy rolling into competition.
The day we landed we went to the village, dropped off luggage and equipment and headed right to processing and got our gear for the trip. We had received our competition gear prior to leaving but there was much more waiting for us in london including our ceremonies gear. We got a crazy amount of stuff, I heard from several athletes that we got more stuff than before. All in all there was two very large duffel bags and two large backpacks full of gear, from training clothes to casual wear we had it all. I was told to only pack the bare essentials before leaving as we would have more than enough clothing to cover us on the trip, that was definitely the right call. One thing that we did get from team processing that was the most alluring of gear was our podium ceremony gear. We had an awesome WWII bomber jacket replica, pair of jeans and shoes all from Nike to deck us out on the stand. My teammates and myself all agreed no matter what color of medal it was, we were determined to wear that gear on the podium.
We started training at a local athletics facility about 10 minutes down the road from the athlete village, we were very surprised that not only did we have a private facility but we shot the first four days here in London indoors! This was a HUGE advantage that was absolutely an asset to the entire performance of the team. All of our competitors had to train those first days here out in the sub 70 degree temps and rain. We were able to combat our jet lag in a controlled environment allowing us to shoot great from the get-go which prevented that first couple of day self doubt which usually happens from jet lag.
When we shot the ranking round the morning before opening ceremonies we already knew we would not have time to walk with our country during the ceremony. This was a slight disappointment but we would potentially compete as early as 9 A.M. the next morning, and adding in a 1-plus hour bus ride before the competition just cut down our potential sleep time before our biggest chance to medal here at the Games.
USA Archery got us a hotel room right next to the field months in advance as a plan to have us stay there to make sure we would have another leg up on the competition. We woke up that morning knowing that we were one of the first medals awarded and could potentially be the first medal awarded to the whole of USA for 2012. We started off slowly with Japan as they did not have a bye as we did in the quarterfinal rounds. This gave them an advantage to help get a read on the wind in the stadium, it was mostly covered for about 50 meters of the field but a WIDE open field just before the targets without proper useable windsocks in view. But we came back strong and closed the match with a win and moved on to face Korea in the semifinals. This was the match that everyone wanted, the media kept going on and on about how Korea was favored over us to win the event. Which was a surprise to us because they must not have looked at the past couple years of our team's performance on the Archery World Cup stage where we had beat them and other teams numerous times leading up to the Games.
We set the record straight and finished super strong shooting a 59 on our final end to edge out the team of Korea. The emotions started to run wild as we knew that we had clinched a medal here at the Games. It turned out to be the first medal awarded to USA which made victory even sweeter. After making it to the gold medal match it was now time to put on a show. We shot extremely well as a team but got rather unlucky on the wind in a few shots which kept the match in favor of the Italian team for the most of the match. It literally came down to the last arrow and Italy needed a ten to win and the wind just happened to die and allowed the last shooter for them to just barely catch the line on the ten ring. We literally lost by less than 1/2" but came away winners no matter what. I was so excited to be walking around with a medal around my neck and am proud to have done it in front of my family.
Next was my individual competition and that did not go as well as planned, getting knocked out in the first round but I could not complain as I already had a medal and tons of experience to take it to more competitions in the future. Life is just one big learning curve and I'm glad to be on the upward swing of that curve just taking anything and everything in while trying to absorb as much of this experience in London as I can.
I now look forward to enjoying as many sports here as possible and cheering on the rest of Team USA to gold. If you would like to see some pictures of life here at the Games, check out my Facebook at www.facebook.com/kaminskijake there will be more frequent updates on there as well as this blog now that everything has settled down here for the USA Archery team and will have more energy for things like this.
Thank you so much everyone for your support and I am proud to bring home a silver medal for the USA.