Meet the Team: USA’s compounders at the para worlds

The USA’s compound men’s team has been on a trail of success. With a slew of accomplished compound archers in the country, Lance Thornton, Ben Thompson and Paralympic Champion Andre Shelby placed top three at the US trials in Salt Lake City to qualify for Beijing.

In early May, Kevin Polish, Thompson and Shelby set a new world record for the ranking round with 2063 points during the Juan Enrique Barrios Cup in Manati, Puerto Rico.

The hope was to break that record in Beijing.

“We don’t want to put too much pressure on ourselves,” Shelby said, before the event. They didn’t quite manage that feat – but these US men did finish with bronze.

Shelby, whose calm and focused demeanour led him to gold in Rio, came second indivdiually – and Thompson came third.

National Para Head Coach Randi Smith said she admired the trio’s camaraderie:

“You can really tell that they are like brothers, laughing and joking. They are a true family and that’s what we wanted to accomplish here.”

“It feels great to have two teammates that shot lights out. We all just jive together, everyone stays calm and cool and we were all playing off each other,” added Thornton.

Here’s five quick questions with Team USA.

How many arrows do you shoot a day?

Thornton: “100.”

Shelby: “About 100.”

Thompson: “85-100, but only every other day.”

What piece of advice would you give to your 14-year-old self?

Shelby: “I would tell him everything that was going to happen in life.”

Thornton: “To work hard everyday.”

Thompson: “To start archery sooner.”

What was your favourite international competition and why?

Thornton: “The 2013 world championships, because that was my first international championships.

Shelby: “Toronto [2015 Parapan and Pan Am Games], because it’s where I took gold for the first time.”

Thompson: “Argentina [2014 Parapan American Championships]; it was one of my first international competitions and the food there was awesome.”

What is your favourite movie?

Thornton: “Lonesome Dove or Tombstone”

Shelby: “Lord of the Rings”

Thompson: “The Ghost and the Darkness”

Describe Team USA in one word.

Thornton: “Tough.”

Thompson: “Resilient.”

Shelby: “Family-oriented… with a hyphen so it still counts as one word!”

What are your hobbies other than archery?

Thornton: “Hunting and Fishing.”

Shelby: “Fishing.”

Thompson: “Who has time for anything other than archery?”

What’s your favourite thing about the United States?

Thornton: “Everything.”

Shelby:  “You have the option to do what you want to do.”

Thompson: “There’s pretty good access and options for people with disabilities.”

The 2017 World Archery Para Championships run 12-17 September in Beijing, China.