28 days to go…. archery & Olympics news

8 July, 2016

One month to go, and the Korean publicity machine hits fifth gear; the KAA seem to have flung the doors wide open for the media at the Taerung training centre. There was even a special hour-long documentary called ‘Game Of Numbers’ on KBS1, the main broadcaster, on the Olympic team and how it gets picked.

I’ve managed to get hold of a copy, but it hasn’t got any English subtitles (yet). (EDIT: You can watch it here, no English subs though).

The film is kind of slow and meditative, and takes in extensive interviews with squad & coaches, past & present. I wish I understood more Korean. Still, someone gave us a hand with a small bit of it, an over-the-shoulder shot of Ki Bo Bae’s notebook.

You want to know what’s written in Ki Bo Bae’s notebook, don’t you? I bet you do.

1. Prioritise shooting bows (Always prioritise shooting bows over other thoughts)
2. Believe in posture techniques (trust my senses)
3. Positivity (Always think “I’m good at this” and “I can do this”)
* Making a mistake contributes to my image, so a positive routine is a must (Always think about the focus point)
* Results depend on my efforts!
* When the wind blows, aim for no more or less than 9 points
As long as I follow my usual routine, everything will turn out as planned!
Everything will be okay if I do my routine
Picture the way I shoot whilst performing image training
(Never lose trust!)

(Thanks to Jessica Cho)

From Naver News, a video revealing that the Korean team are practicing with full Falco Eye targets and full competition infrastructure on a reproduction of the backdrop in the Sambadrome. Odder than that, there is some “Neuroscience leveraging” brainwave reading action that reminds me of the devices used in this ancient film. The film also appears to show that some squad members are using 3D printed grips on their bows.


There’s a separate film from Naver news that shows even more headset action, a diagram of the expected winds in the Sambadromo, and some other stuff too.

From Yonhap News, a revealing interview with Kim Woojin, who is rapidly turning into the most interesting member of the squad:

“Four years ago, (missing the Olympic team) left a bitter taste in my mouth, and I went through a slump” said Kim, now 24. “At a domestic competition afterward, I finished 55th out of 60 archers. I really doubted whether I could make the national team again. I watched the guys on the Olympic team train so hard, and I was just feeling sorry for myself….. When I tried to analyze the reasons that I missed London, I learned that I was too arrogant and too obsessed with the results. I was also unable to handle pressure.”

From the same website and journalist, an interview with Choi Misun and Chang Hyejin:

“I do want to win the individual title, but more than anything, I want to leave it all out there and come home with no regrets,” she said. “If I can manage to win a medal, then I’d be very delighted and grateful.”

Both interviews use the phrase “leave it all out there”. I suspect I’m going to have to try and find out what the Korean for that actually is. 🙂

A Reuters piece also revealed that the squad (or possibly just Ki Bo Bae) had been sunburnt practicing up a mountain on Jeju Island – the “Hawaii of Korea”. Not just any mountain – Mount Halla (Hallasan), a shield volcano and the highest peak in the country. Crikey!

The Korean teams and the alternates were also practicing in a baseball stadium, with the crowd encouraged to make a lot of noise – although clearly not when it was full. The KAA have been doing this since at least Beijing, and it doubles up as a great pre-Olympic publicity stunt. More here and some short videos here and here  (thanks to eljetico)


Japan have picked their three women, one man team for Rio:

Kaori Kawanaka
Saori Nagamine
Yuki Hayashi

Takaharu Furukawa

Kawanaka and Furukawa return from London 2012, where they took women’s team bronze and men’s individual silver, if you remember. Although I hope they brought their singing voices with them, as their furious-looking former prime minister suggested that athletes who did not sing the national anthem loudly were unworthy of representing Japan.


Italy have announced their Olympic and Paralympic teams for Rio, the biggest news being the absence of veteran Michele Frangilli. The men’s team are probably unable to be counted out, and the women’s team could do some damage in Rio too. Exciting!


A slightly oddly-timed and oddly-placed video news piece about Khatuna Lorig, who won’t be competing in Rio after the USA didn’t qualify a full women’s team. You wonder if they’d booked the camera and the truck early expecting to do a pre-Olympic slot, and just went ahead and did it anyway. Weird.


Archers dread competing under lights” has the Indian Express claiming that the Indian team haven’t had enough practice under spotlights before Rio. Plus the spectator guide for the Sambadrome has been launched.


TEAM GB NEWS: Patrick Huston, currently at the Beiter centre in Germany, has put up a new video, this time explaining reversals. Watch it right here!

Patrick and GBR coach Richard Priestman also shared this picture of the personalised number plates they’d bought themselves after Patrick qualified for Rio during the European Championships in May. Yowza!


Patrick also appears on the cover of the current edition of Bow International, where inside you can read my personal account, plus pics, of what I got up to in Shanghai. Lots of insider information, and even some jokes. It’s available in better-stocked newsagents, or you can buy and read it digitally on a phone or tablet too (search for Bow International in your app store).


Crispin Duenas filled in this hand-written who-I-am piece for the Canadian Olympic Association. Whee!


Finally, over at World Archery, we’ve hit number one on the Greatest Of All Time list. Inevitably, it had to be Kim Soo-Nyung, the all-time medal leader in the modern era, and a lady who managed to get back into the Korean national team after not even touching a bow for six years.

There wasn’t quite enough space to share the full anecdote she mentioned about the last round in 1988, where she mentioned not being distracted by the photographers. She actually cited a well-known Korean folk tale about a calligrapher called Han Seok Bong, which I am going to quote here from this website:

Long ago in a small village far from here, a boy named Han Seok Bong lived with his mother. She sold rice cakes for a living, and their family was poor. Because of their poverty, they could not afford to send Seok Bong to school. He stayed home by himself all day.

Sometimes Seok Bong would amuse himself by writing his letters in the dirt in front of their home. One day, a gentleman happened to pass by and praised the boy’s talent at calligraphy. From that point on, Seok Bong worked hard on writing his letters.

Seok Bong’s mother saw her son’s diligence and skill. She determined to send him to the temple so he could improve his skills by studying with the masters. Seok Bong was happy for the chance to go and learn, but the thought of living away from his mother made him sad.

“The art of writing is more than just talent,” his mother told him. “Practice is essential. You must study and work hard for ten years, and don’t give a second thought about home.”

Three years passed by. Seok Bong worked hard and studied diligently. He determined he had learned all that he could, and decided to leave the temple and return home to his village.

When he reached the mountain near his village he began to run. We he saw the gate to his house he ran even faster. He burst though the gate, and with a loud voice he cried, “Mother!”

His mother was busy cutting rice cakes. She looked up at him and said, “Has it been ten years? Why have you come back so soon?”

“There is nothing left for me to learn at the temple,” he replied. From now on I will take care of you.”

“I don’t want to be taken care of,” his mother replied. “What I want most is for you to become an outstanding young man of character.”

“Let’s see how well you have learned,” she said. “We will have a contest. I will cut my rice cakes, and you write your letters. We will see if you are yet a master.”

They each assembled their materials. Seok Bong began to write, and his mother began to cut her rice cakes.

Then his mother blew out the lamp. The room was pitch black.

After a while, she lit the lantern again. The letters Seok Bong had written in the dark were crooked. Some were big, some were small. However, the rice cakes his mother had cut were each exactly the same size.

Seok Bong gathered his materials, stood up and bowed to his mother.

“I am sorry,” he said. And he returned straightway to the temple.

After seven more years of study, Seok Bong returned home. His mother greeted him with joy.

Han Seok Bong’s skill as a calligrapher became known far and wide, even as far away as the courts of China.

This moral story is usually told to young people about the value of humility, because we never learn all there is to know. But Kim Soo-Nyung was quoting it (if I have this right) from the point of view of the mother; getting on with what you have practiced with total discipline and ignoring other people, whatever they are up to.






Leave a Reply