Ask Me Anything: Ki Bo Bae and Chang Hye Jin

The last two recurve women’s Olympic Champions travelled to Rome to compete in the 2017 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

London 2012 winner Ki Bo Bae and Chang Hye Jin, the gold medallist at Rio 2016, are known to be friends outside of the shooting field, so we thought we’d find out just how well they know each other.

Using our new new random question technique, here’s what they had to say…

Chang Hye Jin: What did you imagine Rome was going to be like?

Ki Bo Bae: I was really excited and couldn’t wait to get here. I know how much rich history there is in Rome. The statues [here in the Stadio de Marmi] look like they’re all doing different sports!

Ki: If you could have been an Olympic gold medallist in any other sport, what would it have been and why? 

Chang: That’s a tough question… I think I would have done athletics, even though I probably wouldn’t ever have a chance to win a medal. Back in elementary school, before I started archery, I was pretty good at running the 100m.

I don’t want to tell you how long it takes me to run 100m now, but back then, let’s just say I was pretty fast! [laughs]

Chang: What’s the most embarrassing thing you've been asked? 

Ki: Well, a lot of Korean men ask me if I want to get married. Many many times. [laughing] “Please marry me!” [laughs]

Ki: What's the best advice you’ve ever been given? 

Chang: Don't just focus on the result. You need to know how you've you've progressed, too. Instead of focusing on your results, if you think about the process, work hard and do everything you can in training, the results will follow. When people would tell me this, I found it really helpful.

Chang: Where would you like to go at the end of the season? 

Ki: Paris! Ever since I was young, I always wanted to go to Paris in France. I’d love to go there and enjoy a fantastic vacation.

Ki: Would you make a good coach? 

Chang: No. Definitely not. No. I never thought I’d make a good coach. I’m not good at explaining archery technique or form. I don’t think I’d be able to communicate things very well to my archers.

Chang: Apart from the ones that won you Olympic medals – what’s the favourite match you ever shot? 

Ki: In my third year of middle school, I went to the Youth National Sports Festival and my parents came out to cheer for me. I ended up winning gold. That’s the best memory for me.

Ki: What was the first Olympics you saw on television and what do you remember? 

Chang: At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I remember Park Kyung-Mo shooting his individual medal match.

Chang: You had a tricky moment in Shanghai this year. How do you get things like that out of your mind? 

Ki: One of my strengths is that I’m able to forget about bad shots right away and get ready for my next arrow. In the difficult moments, I focus on what I do well and forget about negative things.

Ki: What’s the last thing you say to yourself just before you go out onto a finals stage?

Chang: Rather than just before a finals match, actually before a competition even begins, I tell myself, “shoot without any regrets, and with confidence”.

Chang: Tell us about a match you really regret.

Ki: During the Rio Olympics, losing rock, paper, scissors to Hye Jin. [much laughter]

Ki:  What’s the most embarrassing thing you like watching on television? 

Chang: I don’t watch television all that much. I think I’m most embarrassed when someone points a celebrity out and I have no idea who they are. Other people tell me and it's like ‘wa wa wa’.

Chang: What keeps you awake before a big match?

Ki: I guess at my first Olympics, the night before the final day of my individual matches, I remember not being able to fall asleep. What was I thinking? “Will I be able to shoot comfortably?”

Ki: What did your first ever start for the national team feel like?

Chang: I came to the understanding that I needed to become a national team member even if I was older. When I first made the squad, I thought, “Ohhh, this is what it’s like to be on the national team.” I guess I was just really happy.

Chang: What did you expect before you came to Rome?

Ki: I thought, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a gold medal but I’d love to be on the podium.

Ki: What do you think about me? 

Chang: I've been sharing a room at tournaments with Bo Bae for a long time. I think there’s so much that can be learned from her. I think I really understand why she became Olympic Champion.

Chang: Tell us a secret of how you practice?

Ki: Shoot just one arrow more than anyone else.

Ki: Finally, who spends longer in the bathroom, me or you? 

Hye Jin: [After much laughter from both] It’s really hard to compare because there’s not much between the both of us. Sometimes, Bo Bae will be in there longer… sometimes, I’m in there longer. I guess it’s a tie.

But the funny thing is, compared to anyone else, we’re both in the bathroom for an extremely long time!

Thanks to Jae Kyung Lee and Vanessa Lee for translations.