Brady Ellison, Archery’s New Badass

Dan Murphy June 21, 2012 3
Brady Ellison, Archery’s New Badass

This is the second in a series of articles leading up to the start of the 2012 Olympics in London on July 27. Each will highlight an athlete and the aspects of his or her sport that make it an example of great design. Today, Brady Ellison of Team USA, Archery.

Olympic Bowman Brady Ellison


There’s a perfect storm brewing for the popularity of archery in the United States at the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The blockbuster movie The Hunger Games (based on the bestselling book) made archery chic by featuring the bow and arrow-wielding heroine Katniss Everdeen. Mix that with the fact that the best archer in the world is the charismatic, shaggy haired, goatee-wearing 23-year-old Brady Ellison and there’s a reason that Olympic archery could become the “it” sport at the Summer Games in London.

Interviews with Ellison reveal the aw-shucks demeanor of an Olympian who prefers the cowboy couture of a cowboy hat and bootcut jeans. But he’s not just down-home and likable. He’s also very good. Ellison won Archery World Cup gold medals in 2010, 2011, and 2012, making him the first archer to ever win three in a row. He’ll be heading to London as the top-ranked recurve archer in the world.


Archery, Concentration and Aim. Brady Ellison


The Arizona native is no stranger to the Summer Olympics. He competed, but did not medal, at the 2008 Summer Games. That fact will be obvious to viewers of the 2012 games, thanks to a tattoo of the Olympic rings with the caption “Beijing 2008” featured prominently on his right forearm. When he’s at full draw, Ellison’s ink is as clear as a billboard.


Archery Quote, Brady Ellison

Expect Brady Ellison to add another Olympic tattoo in the near future. And expect him to be a familiar face after the 2012 Summer Games are over.


Bullseye, Olympic Archery


Great design often demands great precision—the detailed measurements needed to construct great architecture, the minute machinery in a watch that keeps perfect time, expertly placed brushstrokes on a canvas. Olympic archery is no different.

Hitting the 10-point ring (the inner circle on an archery target and the one that yields the highest score) requires near perfection with every move and muscle. The center ring is just 12.2 centimeters in diameter (roughly 4-3/4 inches), which is just slightly larger than the length of an iPhone. The shooter lets the arrow fly from a recurve bow, distinguishable by the fact that both tips of the bow curve away from the archer, from 70 meters away. The bowstring is drawn back until it touches the corner of the mouth of the archer, the arrow is aimed, and the drawstring is released, letting the arrow fight both wind and gravity to find its way home.


London Olympics, Team USA Archery


If an arrow pierces the prized 10-point ring, the process must be repeated in nearly identical fashion to find that perfect portion of the target again. The margin for error is so slim that those who excel at the sport have incredible mental focus to the point where they control their breathing and heart rate. Archery is muscle memory, concentration, consistency, and repetition at the highest level.

Consistency isn’t always easy considering the myriad steps it takes just to make an arrow fly. The B.E.S.T. (Biomechanically Efficient Shooting Technique) training method employed by USA Archery includes detailed instruction on aspects like stance, body position, the bow shoulder, the draw shoulder, grip, mindset, drawing the bow, aiming, proper release, and follow through. That’s an awful lot to perfect.


Brady Ellison and Archery Facts


Video: Brady Ellison, Olympic Archery

Summer Olympic Series - Original Content at

Brady Ellison

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Usain Bolt


  • Santiago A. Hernandez

    Archery has always been a part of life for my Father me and my brothers and sister and now my kids 🙂 I live the fact that it is making a huge mark in everyday life and now in Disney Cartoons and some schools and summer camps. Archery will always be my sport and I will always support this Great traditions and sport. God Bless all of the Archers in the 2012 London Olympic 🙂 Santiago A. Hernandez Jr of San Diego.

  • Julie Nichols

    Awesome article. Brady is a wonderful spokesman for all of Archery, here in the USA and abroad. We are all so very proud of him.

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