WROCLAW, Poland – Today was a spectacular comeback for Team USA. After a rocky start in intense competition at the final World Cup stage in Poland, and with World Championships just around the corner, the archers from the US stepped up to the plate for team rounds with a thirst for gold.
The recurve men, practicing together out of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista have been training hard for the team round competition recently and it paid off this morning. Seeded third, the trio was poised well for their first several matches. They easily won over Ukraine and then defeated India in the quarterfinals.
In the 1/8th elimination, Italy upset No. 2 seed, France, which gave the US a lead over its half of the bracket. In the semifinals, the US team took the match by almost ten points, rocketing them into the gold match.
Korea, with all four archers shooting in the stage four finals this weekend, was expected to crush the competition, however they only narrowly made it to the gold match. In a difficult semifinal match against Mexico, a rematch of the 2012 Olympic bronze match, the teams tied and went to a shoot off. Korea repeated their Olympic win, taking the shoot off 29-30. The gold and bronze matches will be repeats of the 2012 Olympic semifinals; will Team USA repeat their win?
The recurve women were not positioned as well for the win. With the 16th seed, they suffered a 1/8th round match up with the untouchable Korea. The ladies from Korea kept all but two arrows in the gold to advance.
On the compound side, both US teams were seeded first and ready to dominate. The compound men, after missing the gold in Antalya and Medellin, were hungry for the win. Their quarterfinal against Denmark, a rematch of their Antalya upset, was a solid revenge for the US. They took the lead in the first set and increased it through the entire match to take the win. They continued the win streak against Korea in the semifinals, taking a two-point lead in the second set with a perfect 60.
The other half of the bracket saw several surprises. South Africa, seeded 7th upset No. 2 France in the quarterfinals and then the team from the Netherlands, the No. 3 seed in the semifinals. South Africa will face the US for the gold, each team with something to prove; South Africa has not achieved the honor since Antalya in 2010, and the US wants to regain its place on the podium, which eluded them in Antalya and Medellin this season.
The compound women, led by golden girl, Erika Jones (Grand Island, Neb.), walked onto the field with the champion title from Medellin. Their semifinal matchup was Colombia, their third pairing this season. Colombia, led by Sara Lopez and Alejandra Usquiano, won in Antalya, while the US team took the win in Medellin. The first set was a tie with two 58s. Then the US created a 3-point gap with a perfect 60, which propelled them to take the win again.
Korea, seeded 7th from qualifications, climbed the bracket into the semifinals, but fell to Italy. No. 3 seed Italy will shoot against the US team for gold and Korea will face Colombia for the bronze.
With three of four US teams shooting for gold medals, as well as competing in the matches for the compound mixed team gold and compound women’s individual gold, Team USA is taking a stake at glory and victory here in Poland.
Competition resumes tomorrow with compound medal matches. For complete results from today’s competition, including detailed score reports for each team visit http://www.worldarchery.org/en-us/worldcup/wroclaw/livescores.aspx.
Also, thanks to Eurovision, the recurve finals this Sunday will be available via livestream at http://www.youtube.com/archerytv beginning at 11:00h Central European Time.
Follow daily coverage on http://www.worldarchery.org and visit USA Archery on Facebook and Twitter for updates from the field.
Some information attributed to World Archery Communication.