When Jeff Fabry steps onto the field at Rio 2016, the world will be watching. The crowd will roar and tensions will run high. He’ll be defending the individual gold he won at London in 2012, and that could make anyone nervous. But this veteran competitor says archery is a mental game, and medals go to those who are strongest “between the ears.”
Rio 2016 will be the world’s biggest archery competition, a global celebration of bows and arrows. What some archery fans might not know is that there are two archery events in Rio: the Olympic Games, followed by the Paralympic Games. And the competition at both is incredibly tough.
The story of how Fabry won the Paralympics championship is stunning. In fact, it was one of the most intense comeback victories of the London 2012 Games. In the semifinals, he had an equipment failure when his bow fell and a string slipped off the cam. And he didn’t have his backup bow.
Yet Fabry still won that semifinal match and shot his way to a gold medal.
Overcoming odds is nothing new to Fabry: at age 15 he lost an arm and leg in a motorcycle accident. He just wanted to get out of the hospital and back to living, he told PBS MedalQuest, and found his way to competitive archery.
Shooting with a modified tab that lets him pull the bowstring and release with his teeth, Fabry became one of the world’s best archers, regardless of equipment adaptations. In fact, he says archers shooting in para divisions (people with physical disabilities) are just as competitive as able-bodied archers, if not more so.
Learn more about Jeff’s road to gold and his path to Rio 2016: