The last push: Brady’s defence of two world titles on home soil

Brady Ellison shoots at the Yankton 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.

“I don’t have the quit button in me. I want to win everything and it makes me mad when I don’t win,” Brady Ellison tells the local press on media day in Yankton. “At this point, it’s just sheer determination.”

It’s been a long season.

For the 128 recurve archers that went to Japan, of which Brady was one, the Olympic Games were the single, all-consuming monolith on the horizon.

Until they were done and suddenly, win or lose, a post-Tokyo future came into focus.

Brady didn’t have the Olympics he wanted, losing in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Mete Gazoz. It simply wasn’t the perfect ending to his phenomenal run that started back in early 2019.

It was still a great result.

At an event that takes absolutely everything out of an athlete in the lead-up, under the spotlight and on the very arena floor itself, Ellison once again proved he is one of the best in the world. For an archer whose sole focus is the podium, that perspective won’t be easy to see. A sportsperson’s ability to perform isn’t boundless – and the Olympics are exhausting.

“I pushed hard for, I don't know, five or six months? And without a single break,” he said. “To try and come back and try to build back up for a world championship event, it’s tough.”

But build is what Brady must do – for one final run, on home soil, in Yankton.

He arrives at the world’s largest dedicated archery facility as the reigning World Archery Champion and reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion, poised to perform in front of a crowd for the first time since late 2019.

“I have two more events that I have to put the most effort that I can into right now,” he said. “And then get a little bit of a break and not look at my bow for a few weeks.”

The world championships start today, with qualifying, in Yankton.

And then next week, Ellison has a shot at the more-than-25,000 USD top prize on offer if he can win his sixth Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.

At the former, the worlds, archers must shoot qualifying and through the early eliminations to make the televised top-eight finals session. In the latter, athletes are already into the quarterfinals and it’s just three matches for the victory.

“I like shooting in the finals. It’s only three matches. Get in, get out, try to win, go home,” he said.

It‘s been a long season – but there’s time for one last push.

“I think it’s stubbornness, more than anything else.”