By Robert A. Whetstone and Annette Gomes
U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Getting shot with an arrow, really looks like it might hurt. 'Might' is the operative word for athletes competing in the archery competition June 7, during the Department of Defense Warrior Games, at the U.S. Air Force Academy's Holaday Athletic Center.
It takes the might and strength of a cool, calculating Soldier to pull back the string of their bow and put an arrow through the heart of a bullseye about 18 meters (60 feet) away, according the 2018 DoD Warrior Games Rules and Classifications. To do it countless times during a long competition can test their physical stamina and ability to maintain concentration.
"It's draining because your body is being depleted of the sugar that you need to continue," said U.S. Army veteran Staff Sgt. Michael Helmen. "Little by little you lose your strength because your glucose level has dropped. Your body just slowly becomes weaker and weaker because of the loss of glucose." Helmen said it is recommended archers carry nuts or an energy bar to replenish themselves throughout the match.
Looking down the line of archers during the competition is like seeing the string section of an orchestra getting ready to play a classical tune. The difference is, the bowstrings are lethal.
"It was nerve racking because there's so many things to focus on with recurve that you really have to zone in and block everything out," said U.S. Army Pfc. Lauren Jahn. "You really have to think about everything your body is doing. It's really nerve racking but rewarding."
Archery is composed of five categories: Individual Compound Open, Individual Compound/Recurve Open Visually Impaired (VI), Individual Recurve Open, Team Compound, and Team Recurve. Participants may shoot compound and recurve bows from a standing or seated position. Archers must choose to shoot either compound bow or recurve bow (cannot shoot both). Men and women will be combined for all archery events.
Athletes compete in different classification categories based on functional abilities, including impaired muscle power/range of movement, limb deficiency and visual impairment. Visually impaired archers will compete in a separate classification than sighted archers. All VI archers wear blindfolds and shoot with a tactile sight.
Jahn and the other competitors persevered through over 10 hours of competition. Her performance earned her a silver medal for Team Army in the individual recurve category.
"Lauren did a great job today," said Team Army coach Jesse White. "Believe it or not she did the same thing at Army Trials. She was sitting in 8th place and came back and took the gold so for her to do it again was just amazing. "Everyone's tired. I have no complaints about anyone; everyone was phenomenal." "I am so elated I can't believe it," said Jahn. "I have the best coaches.
Jahn gave praise to her teammates too. In the team recurve category, Jahn brought home another silver medal with Capt. Kenny Rogers and Sgt. 1st Class Julio Rodriguez. In the team compound category, Sgt. Aaron Averre, and veterans Sgt. David Crook, and Capt. Alex Wilson captured the bronze. "They were fantastic," she said.
Jahn said all the services did really well and there was great sportsmanship all around. "I'm so happy," she added. "Just really happy."
For more information on archery and the results of the event go to https://dodwarriorgames.com/games-results/2018-results/