Brady Ellison started competing in the Junior Olympic Archery Development Program while growing up in Payson and now this young archer is aiming for Olympic gold in London this summer.
Brady Ellison, born in Globe, Arizona in 1988, could very well become known as the best archer ever. In fact, that is one of his ultimate goals. Currently, Brady is ranked number one in the world and is the odds-on favorite to win Olympic gold in London.
Last year, Brady won gold at three World Cup events as well as the World Cup Final and the Olympic test event. In fact, in 2011, Brady won 35 of the 37 world ranking events he entered.
While these competitions have honed his skills, they haven’t changed his basic character. He is at heart a country boy with a love of the outdoors.
If you look at pictures or videos of him at most events, Brady wears a well-worn baseball cap with a fishing hook on the bill. When not competing he often wears a cowboy hat. Brady is an avid angler who enjoys harvesting fish with his bow and arrow.
Hunting is another passion. A Coues whitetail deer head and a Corsican (long-horned) sheep head are displayed on his bedroom wall. While growing up in Payson, Brady spent many autumns hunting deer, which he says helped him immensely in his archery career. His grandfather is a rancher and outfitter/guide, his dad is a taxidermist, both are avid hunters and anglers.
During an interview, Brady told ESPN that in hunting, “You’ve got to be smarter than the animals, which sounds a lot easier than it is, because they smell and hear better than we do. You’re trying to outsmart them and getting close is just fun. The adrenaline rush I get is better than shooting in tournaments.”
While Brady exudes confidence and strives to be the best archer since the fabled Robin Hood, those who know him routinely say he is “down to earth” and a well-rounded individual who gives back to the community – in more ways than one.
Brady has worked with the Wounded Warrior Project and has donated money from appearances to that worthy effort. But that isn’t all. He routinely donates to the Susan G. Komen Shoot for the Cure cancer foundation as well.
Brady committed to donating a minimum of $100 for every podium finish this past year, beginning with the Arizona Cup.
“I will also pledge $1 dollar for every X and 10 that I score during the qualification rounds of these tournaments. Some of my sponsors have agreed to match my podium finish donations. I feel that it is important to step out of your comfort zone and step up for others. I hope that people will join with me and pledge their support as I Shoot for The Cure,” Brady said.
Brady has come through on that promise, raising approximately $8,000 so far.
When Brady is in Arizona, he often gives the Archery in the Schools Program a boost by visiting schools to talk about his experiences and inspires young archers to do their best.
“Brady Ellison is a terrific role model, not just for young archers, but for young people everywhere,” said Arizona Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles. “His talent, work ethic, commitment to excellence, and desire to make a difference by helping others, truly makes him special.”
Brady’s character was also molded by overcoming physical adversity. As a child, he suffered from Perthes disease, which affects his hips. Brady wore leg braces in kindergarten.
A labral tear in his hip from this disease was repaired surgically in 2008 just after he competed in the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The recovery period is lengthy and involved, and he chose to bear the pain in order to be able to compete in Beijing.
Brady placed 27th in the 2008 Olympic individual competition and 10th in the team event. But he came away from his first Olympics with a more permanent reminder – a tattoo on his right forearm of the Olympic rings that is plain for everyone to see each time he lets an arrow fly.
Brady told NBC Sports that in 2008, he used to worry about how everyone else was shooting and now he is focused on becoming the very best he can be.
You can follow Brady in his quest for gold on the internet at www.nbcolympics.com/archery/results-schedules/index.html.