If archery had a “Rookie of the Year” award, Bridger Deaton (Pella, Iowa) would probably earn it. Today, this unlikely hero defeated the World No. 1 ranked archer to win the World Cup Final.
The gold medal finish was an incredible victory for 20 year old compound archer Deaton, who only began competing on the World Cup circuit in April.
Deaton also joined teammate Erika Jones (Grand Island, Nebraska) in today’s mixed team gold medal match. The duo took a 158-151 win over host country Switzerland.
“I’m still kind of processing [it],” an emotional Deaton told World Archery. “Words can’t describe how I feel.”
To earn today’s gold medals, Deaton had to first qualify for the World Cup Final by becoming one of the season’s seven best male archers, over four World Cup events.
Then, Deaton had to win two matches today, including a tough semifinal versus teammate Reo Wilde (Pocatello, Idaho), a multi-time World Champion.
“During the semi-finals I was behind [Wilde] a little bit,” Deaton explained. “After the first few ends I knew I had to shoot almost perfect to catch up. So I would have been happy either way, with the gold or the bronze final, but I’m very glad it turned [out] to be the gold.”
In the gold medal match, Deaton faced France’s Pierre Julien Deloche, currently ranked number one in the world. The American archer took no chances: he shot clean – meaning perfect tens – for his first eleven arrows versus Deloche. Deaton dropped just two points in fifteen total arrows.
That consistency gave Deaton a final score of 148-144 for the gold medal win.
Jones also had individual success of her own, passing Colombia’s Alejandra Usquiano and Toja Cerne of Slovenia to reach the women’s compound gold medal final versus Colombia’s Sara Lopez.
Though Jones came up two points short in the final versus Lopez, she achieved a silver medal – her fourth individual podium finish at a World Cup Final.
Wilde went on to win the men’s bronze medal against Netherlands superstar Peter Elzinga.
Tomorrow, the World Cup Final continues with the recurve event, including two Olympic medallists from the United States: Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski.
The showdown to watch: Ellison’s first match, a quarterfinal meeting with rival and Olympic champion Oh Jin Hyek of Korea.
The entire event will be live streamed from Switzerland. Watch it free, beginning at 5 a.m. Eastern, at http://archy.re/WCF2014. Results and photos from today’s event may also be found at that link, courtesy of World Archery.
Logo courtesy USA Archery