1 year later: 8 memories of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

8 August 2017
Berlin (GER)
Athletes remember their experiences of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The life of an Olympic athlete – or hopeful – revolves around the four-year Olympic cycle. The training and preparation required is incredible and all that work leads up to one moment.

Berlin, the fourth stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup in 2017, takes place exactly 12 months on from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. One year removed, here’s what eight Olympians competing in Germany had to say about their time in Brazil.

1. RYAN TYACK

One-third of the bronze-medal winning men’s team in Rio, Tyack – with Taylor Worth and Alec Potts – climbed the archery podium for Australia for the first time since Tim Cuddihy in 2004.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“It makes us really proud to know that if we put in the hard yards we can actually do really well and just something we can work on and see where archery goes from here.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“For me, personally, not much has changed. I’m studying a bit more so I can look for a job that fits with archery instead of going to someone and saying ‘hey, I’m going to be away for six weeks’, they’re probably not going to hire you.”

“Because of our achievements and how our state and regional funding goes we’ve had some jobs talking to kids, and that’s been really rewarding as well.”

2. CHANG HYE JIN

Rio 2016 Olympic Champion Chang Hye Jin, the second-seeded athlete in the women’s event at the Games, worked her way consistently and effectively through her side of the brackets, then beat teammate and reigning gold medallist Ki Bo Bae in the semis. She took Olympic gold and victory over Germany’s Lisa Unruh in the final.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“I just realised that today is the day when we got the gold medal in the recurve team medal match. I cannot believe that it happened a year ago already and for me it is absolutely fantastic to be back in the national team after the Rio Games.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“It is not only that I am happy and appreciative for the many people that recognised my face with such support after Rio but I have reminded myself that showing them my best shooting is the only way that I can do something more for them.”

3. ALEJANDRA VALENCIA

Valencia finished fourth in the recurve women’s individual competition at Rio 2016, eliminating top seed Choi Misun in the quarterfinals before losing to Unruh in the semifinals and then Ki Bo Bae in a five-set bronze medal match.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“I still feel the emotion. Just today in the morning, I was remembering the competition, the semifinals and the feeling that I had. It was a good competition, a good feeling and my technique was… quite enough.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“I have another way of thinking. I think in a positive manner. In days before I would do something right but my mind would doubt. Now, when I feel like I did great, my mind agrees.”

4. KIM WOOJIN

World Archery Champion Kim Woojin shot an incredible ranking round in Rio, topping 700 points – and becoming the first recurve archer to do so – over the 72-arrow 70-metre qualification event, but was beaten in a shock second-round match by Indonesia’s Riau Ega Agatha.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“I’m still happy to have that moment when I got the gold medal in the team match. About that world record, it was not much of a different feeling than any other day because it was just the qualification round and it’s matchplay that matters.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“Before the Games, I was nervous and tense. I feel like I really overcame something at the Olympics, and now I feel free when I shoot. I do not have to rush in competition.”

5. SJEF VAN DEN BERG

The fourth-place finisher in the recurve men’s individual event, Sjef was vocal about his disappointment in finishing off the podium. He took a break over the winter off-season and worked hard to get back in shape for the outdoor circuit in 2017.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“To start off, I was about 10 kilos lighter. In Rio, I just remember a lot of waiting and some really tight matches. If I could go back, at this moment, I probably would.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“I’ve grown mentally and physically, after my little sabbatical that I took after the Games, and I feel like at the moment I go shooting because I want to go shooting rather than I have to go shooting.”

6. BRADY ELLISON

A silver medallist in the team event and a bronze-winner individually, Brady lost to eventual-winner Ku Bonchan in a shoot-off in the semifinals, when Ellison shot an eight to the soon-to-be Olympic Champion’s nine.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“I still remember Rio and the medal and stuff but so much has happened since then so I’m not really thinking about it anymore and I’m just focused on the tournaments I have now and the future, trying not to remember the good old days. Keep on thinking about now and the world championships and what’s coming up.”

What did it feel like to climb the podium?

“I still remember how satisfying it felt to become an Olympic medallist but I’m still pissed off I shot one bad arrow in the semifinals. It’s still bittersweet; I really felt like I was shooting good enough to win it and to shoot a bad shot at the wrong time… I was still fortunate enough to come away with a medal.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“Nothing much. Still shooting my bow, still flinging arrows. Still travelling too much.”

7. LISA UNRUH

Unruh collected an historical first individual Olympic archery podium for Germany. Seeded just 21st, she upset the fourth seed Tan Ya-Ting in the quarterfinals to spring a run at the podium.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“The feeling when I was at the field, with Chang, when we were shooting. Also the semifinal, which was pretty emotional because I won it and it was sure I was shooting for gold.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“The media is a bit more important in our sport now, but nothing much has changed in my life. I’m still the same, I’m still shooting and I’m still having fun.”

8. PATRICK HUSTON

Making his Olympic debut in Rio, Britain’s Huston ranked 38th in qualification and lost to sixth seed Ku Bonchan, who went on to become Olympic Champion, in the second round.

What do you remember of Rio 2016?

“I don’t rate how I did particularly well. I felt I was in a wonderful place to shoot but due to some mistakes I didn’t rank very well and, as I said in my pre-match interviews, I didn’t want to hit a Korean early on for them to unleash the standard of archery they can produce.”

“And I lost to Ku Bonchan at the Games. So I can argue I came second because I lost to the Champion. I’ve learned an awful lot since that point, my standard of archery is better and I’m thirsty for more.”

What’s changed since the Olympics?

“I’ve changed my technique. Instead of using my back shoulder to come through the shot I’m now pushing with my front shoulder, which I was already subconsciously doing, but it’s made my archery an awful lot more consistent.”

The fourth stage of the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup runs 8 to 13 August in Berlin, Germany.