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NEWBERRY, Florida - The 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials process came to a close today after thousands of competition arrows shot since the process began last September. USA Archery will have an incredibly strong showing in Rio and is incredibly proud of the team selected.
USA Archery CEO Denise Parker was very pleased to share: "Congratulations to all of the athletes who made it to the finals of the Olympic Trials this week. The depth of the competitive field was impressive and I am excited to see the quality of archers we are sending to Rio. We will all be cheering our women on in Turkey in their quest to secure a team slot."
The U.S. has qualified a full team of three slots for the men for Rio, but so far has only secured one slot for the women. This means that top finisher Mackenzie Brown (Flint, Texas) is locked in for the Games, but Hye Youn Park (Cuptertino, California) and Khatuna Lorig (West Hollywood, California) will need to medal with Brown at the Archery World Cup in Antalya, Turkey in June to earn those last two slots.
Brown (Flint, Texas) commented: "I'm in shock and awe. I'm speechless, elated, I don't even know how to put it in words... Thank you so much to my parents, family, Coach Mel Nichols, and all of my childhood coaches that helped me and supported me on this long journey. All praise honor and glory goes to God. My focus now is training with the team for Turkey to ensure we have our full qualification."
Park finished second in the Trials as a bit of a Dark Horse. Park just started competing in the U.S. recently after emigrating from Korea several years ago and attaining U.S. citizenship in 2015.
"You know this process is hard for all the athletes, and harder than I thought it would be," commented Park. "All the archers here did a really good job. I wanted to try for the 2012 London Olympics but I couldn't get my U.S. citizenship, so I was only able to try now, and this has been a long road. Now in 2016 I feel that it's very different. That time was very hard but it is even harder now. There are so many great archers now so it will be even more difficult. On behalf of all the other athletes I will do my best to get the other two spots for the U.S."
This will be Lorig's sixth Olympic Games and she is also feeling confident about the team. Her focus will be: "Keep practicing, stay positive and lots of team work. Having a team means having more chances to get a medal - you can have two medals instead of one, and for the U.S. it is more realistic to medal as a team than as individual. I have a strong team and I have no doubts. My fans' support was huge, this is the first time in 20 years that I felt like people really cheered for me, thank you so much Team Lorig!"
"I feel good about how the Trials shaped up and the level of competition in our women's program," commented National Women's Head Coach Guy Krueger. "This is the first time that we've ever had three or four women who are able to shoot over 330 70m scores. That level of competitiveness and how much they've improved over the last year and a half is great. I like our chances in Turkey, we have a very talented and dedicated and experienced team so we'll see how we do."
National Head Coach KiSik Lee agreed: "I'm very confident. We have a strong team compared to other Olympics because we selected the best archers through this Trials process. They are getting stronger and stronger day by day. Our men's team is especially strong - we have a new archer joining experienced archers, and that will make a big difference. There is evidence of this as all three men have shot 340+ in international competition."
Brady Ellison (Globe, Arizona) and Jake Kaminski (Gainesville, Florida) were two thirds of the team that won silver in London 2012. Ellison is excited about the team that was put together for Rio: "We have an awesome team, we have a team that has the ability to shoot better than we did in London and the Games are still a long ways away. We still have several tournaments in between so my focus is Turkey and the rest of the competitions before the Games."
"It makes all the hard work and the planning totally worth it," commented Kaminski. "It's a long road, it's not, as they say, every four years-its every day and that's the truth. I'm honored to make my second consecutive team and am proud to represent the USA in Rio."
On making his first Olympic team, Zach Garrett (Wellington, Missouri) shared: "I feel relieved but we're only half way to the goal, I don't' think that anyone or I will really feel accomplished until we're standing on the podium. We'll have our team camps and that will be good to get a feel for how we shoot as a team. Personally I will make some slight form changes, check on my equipment and continue training. Hopefully the scores will be where I want them to be. Thanks to everyone who came out and watched and supported me."
Huge congratulations from USA Archery to all the Trials participants, especially including our 2016 Olympic Team and alternates Daniel McLaughlin (West Chester, Ohio) and LaNola Pritchard (Lehi, Utah).
All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
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