Victory in the Lord's hands, U.S. archers say
LONDON (BP) -- Brady Ellison, Jacob Wukie and Jake Kaminski became the first Americans to capture a medal in the London Olympics, winning silver in the men's archery team competition July 28.
The U.S. trio scored a big win over South Korea in the semifinals before falling to Italy 219-218 in a gold medal match that came down to the last arrow. The Italians needed a perfect 10 on the last shot and got it.
During the match, Ellison wore the Scripture reference Proverbs 21:31 on his right hand: "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord."
(For our previous feature on Wukie, visit http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38360.)
He described why the verse is meaningful to him in a press conference following the match, noting that it's important to work hard and to be as prepared as possible.
"But when it comes down to it, victory is in the Lord's hands," Ellison said. "He gives out the medals at these Games, or at least, that's my opinion."
Wukie, who narrowly made the U.S. team, echoed Ellison's sentiments. Throughout the trials process and the Olympic competition, Wukie said it was important for him to keep his focus on the Lord whether he made the team or not.
"I work hard and do my best to the best of my ability, and I trust God with the results," Wukie said. "He said that all things work together for good for those who are in Christ Jesus, and so that's really my focus.
"I can't necessarily always say how people are going to view me or view that, but I can trust the Lord that He'll allow the truth to be shown to other people."
Ellison said he and his teammates "all decided that the team event is where we wanted to spend the most time, because it was going to be the most memorable. We could share it with each other, and that would mean so much more to us to go out there and win a medal together than individually. So we put a lot of work into practicing team rounds."
Wukie joked that the silver medal may end up in his sock drawer.
"It's a huge blessing to have been here and to have gotten a medal," he said, "and we couldn't be more excited about it. We all tend to be pretty humble about our accomplishments and don't like to brag about it too much."
He added that he hopes the team's medal will have a positive impact on archery's popularity going forward.
"To be able to take a medal, I think, is going to be really helpful in making people want to participate in it more and be involved with it," Wukie said.
In the archery women's team competition, the U.S. team of Jennifer Nichols, Khatuna Lorig and Miranda Leek lost to a lower-ranked Chinese team 218-213 in the quarterfinals July 30, leaving the Americans without a medal in the event.
"We came out and had high hopes," Nichols said. "We felt really good. We were shooting really well all this week and especially in practice right before we came out. However, it just wasn't our day.
"When our arrows didn't go in, China's did. It happens sometimes. China shot really well, and I'm really happy for them."
From a personal standpoint, Nichols said she gave the results, her expectations and how she felt to the Lord.
"I kept praying, even the whole time during that match, 'Lord, just guide our hands. Help us to shoot well, and you be glorified,'" Nichols said. "I'm still praying that He's glorified, even in our loss as much as in our wins."
Nichols will begin competition in the individual event on Tuesday.
Tim Ellsworth, in London covering the Olympics for Baptist Press, is editor of BP Sports and director of news and media relations for Union University in Jackson, Tenn. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).