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Since the Archery World Cup series began in 2006, USA archers have been a dominant force on the circuit. One of the most prominent and consistently successful of those archers has been Braden Gellenthien. Since he made his World Cup debut in 2007 at the Varese stage where he won individual and team gold, he has racked up 60 outdoor world cup medals, including 6 World Cup Final podium finishes. Winning team silver and individual bronze in Shanghai last weekend put Gellenthien at the top, just passing teammate Reo Wilde to become the first archer in history to earn 60 medals on the circuit.
Gellenthien shared some of his story and the incredible emotions behind this journey:
"When I first touched a bow at the age of 12, I never would have dreamed of achieving the successes that I've had in archery. World records, World Cup titles, World Cup Final titles, World Championship titles, just talking about this makes me feel like I'm talking about someone I barely even know - definitely not that 12 year-old kid, in his faded Red Sox hat, searching for arrows out of the grass from behind his first 3D target.
"In one word, it's incredible. First off, I couldn't have achieved any of this success without my team and coaches along the way. Being an American Compound archer brings with it a legacy and responsibility to uphold the standards of the superstars of our past. My successes aren't mine alone, they belong to each and every person who has molded me along this path and most importantly, my teammates who have achieved just as much as I have along the way.
"That pride in our team's legacy is what has driven me to pursue my dream and chase it with the tenacity necessary to become World Archery's most decorated athlete. That fire is renewed at each event, the moment we step on the field, when I hear the rumblings of other teams gaining momentum and working to beat us. Not on my watch.
"Preserving the culture we've developed; the teamwork, comradery, demand of excellence and success - that's what it's about. Well, that and passing it down to future generations and watching them take pride in what those before me have built. It's an amazing thing to be a part of.
"While I'm beyond proud to achieve this historic medal count, I owe every bit of it to those around me. Thank you to everyone at USA Archery; every employee, coach, manager, athlete and member. Thank you to my sponsors, to my family and my friends.
"We're just getting started."
On behalf of USA Archery, CEO Rod Menzer commends Gellenthien: "I admire Braden's fire, passion and joy in representing the United States. He is an incredible shooter and has been doing it for year, after year, after year at the absolute top in the world and it's to be admired."
No feat like this is accomplished alone and USA Archery is grateful to all who have played a role in bringing this honor to the United States. Menzer added: "Reo Wilde is right there with him, and our team stands on the shoulders of those who have come before them. These guys are incredible champions; they've represented the United States with distinction and honor and it's been an absolute pleasure being a fan and watching them compete and shoot and I hope that continues for many years to come."
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