Bowhunter Shooting For Olympic Gold

After years of competition and numerous world titles to his credit, the travel and hours of practice haven’t changed Brady Ellison’s basic down-to-earth character. He is at heart a well-rounded country boy with a love of wild country.

Ellison started competing in the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program while growing up in Payson, Ariz. Now this young archer is aiming for Olympic gold in London when archery competition begins Friday.

Team USA archer Brady Ellison of Arizona enjoys hunting when he's not scoring gold medals in competition.

Currently, Ellison is ranked No. 1 in the world and is the odds-on favorite to win Olympic gold. Last year, Ellison won gold at three World Cup events as well as the World Cup Final and the Olympic test event. In fact, in 2011, he won 35 of the 37 world ranking events he entered.

During an interview, Brady told ESPN that in hunting, “You’ve got to be smarter than the animals, which sounds a lot easier than it is, because they smell and hear better than we do. You’re trying to outsmart them and getting close is just fun. The adrenaline rush I get is better than shooting in tournaments.”

While Brady exudes confidence and strives to be the best archer since the fabled Robin Hood, those who know him routinely say he is down to earth and gives back to the community in more ways than one.

Ellison has worked with the Wounded Warrior Project and has donated money from appearances to that worthy effort. He routinely donates to the Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure cancer foundation as well.

Ellison committed to donating a minimum of $100 for every podium finish this past year, beginning with the Arizona Cup.

“I will also pledge $1 dollar for every X and 10 that I score during the qualification rounds of these tournaments,” he said. “Some of my sponsors have agreed to match my podium finish donations. I feel that it is important to step out of your comfort zone and step up for others. I hope that people will join with me and pledge their support as I Shoot for The Cure.”

Ellison has come through on that promise, raising approximately $8,000 so far.

When Ellison is in Arizona, he often gives the National Archery in the Schools Program a boost by visiting schools to talk about his experiences and inspires young archers to do their best.

“Brady Ellison is a terrific role model, not just for young archers, but for young people everywhere,” said Arizona Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles. “His talent, work ethic, commitment to excellence, and desire to make a difference by helping others, truly makes him special.”

Ellison placed 27th in the 2008 Olympic individual competition and 10th in the team event. But he came away from his first Olympics with a more permanent reminder – a tattoo on his right forearm of the Olympic rings that is plain for everyone to see each time he lets an arrow fly.

Ellison told NBC Sports that in 2008, he used to worry about how everyone else was shooting. Now, he is focused on becoming the very best he can be.

Team USA Archers include Ellison, Jake Kaminski, Jacob Wukie, Miranda Leek, Khatuna Lorig and Jennifer Nichols.

Source: Archery Trade Association