Qualification - Friday 27th July 2012
By Amy’s extremely proud Dad
What a start to Amy’s first Olympics. We knew from talking to her in the morning that she was relaxed and looking forward to starting the qualification rounds. The men had shot well in the morning and Larry was in 4th place behind the three Korean archers.
Amy was due to start at 13:00 yesterday and was texting James during the practise session before the start and everything was feeling good.
The Oliver Support Team (Mum – Lynda, Auntie – Michelle, James – Partner, and me-Neil) had just finished watching the Olympic Torch reach its final destination at Tower Bridge, before its final journey to the Olympic stadium later that night, and now we had to find somewhere with WiFi to have a good connection to receive updates from @archerygb on Twitter. Luckily a coffee house was close so that would be our resting place for the next couple of hours.
The qualifying round was a 720 round, basically 72 arrows with a maximum score of 720 with the centre of the gold being 10 points and the arrows are shot in groups of six, then scores recorded and arrows returned to the archers.
Amy started well. The scores were very close with only 11 points between the leader and Amy in 44th position after 18 arrows. This continued for the next 12 arrows with Amy dropping a little into 47th position, then at the next update from @archerygb Amy had dropped to 59th position and a score of 43 for 6 arrows and we were totally surprised, we looked around at each other, looked out of the window to see if the weather had suddenly changed and started to rain or become windy but it was fine, so we said OK, maybe a couple of bad arrows, or even a possible miss with one arrow, which can happen even at this level, and we eagerly waited for the next update.
As the updates came through the scores were still lower than expected, 51, then 45, 53, 51, 48 something had to be wrong, but there was nothing we could do but wait for the next update and think how Amy must be feeling.
Then the scores moved back to the level we knew Amy has been shooting in practice, and she finished on a high with her last 6 arrows all in the gold, 10, 10, 10, 9, 9, 9 = 57, a really strong finish which has placed her in 57th position in the qualification, and with the combined score of all three British ladies (Alison, Naomi and Amy) placed them in 11th position for the team event on Sunday.
It was only a short time after the end of the qualifying rounds that Amy text to say a technical problem with her bow (the pressure button sticking) had caused a problem with the flight of her arrows as they left the bow and when she realised what the problem was, had to change to her spare bow during the competition.
We were able to spend a few hours with Amy in the evening before the opening ceremony and she gave us the full story of how during the competition she was shooting well and felt, focused, strong and relaxed, but the arrows started to go in the red (7) and the blue (6) in different places on the target and she could not understand why. She spoke to Lloyd (Coach) and he said she looked fine, so she continued shooting and tried to figure out what was wrong by going through all the checks you do as an archer.
Finally in the middle of shooting one of the rounds of 6 arrows, Amy was about to put her fourth arrow into her bow, and for some reason pressed in pressure button and was surprised when it did not spring straight out again as it should. Amy stopped shooting immediately, while still stood on the shooting line with the other 63 archers, she attracted Lloyds attention and said, “Get my spare bow” he said, “what now “Amy replied “yes”. Lloyd picked up the spare bow and walked over and swapped bows with Amy. The 4 minutes allowed to shoot all 6 arrows was still ticking down as Amy continued to shoot her remaining 3 arrows, the first of which was gold (9) putting her mind at rest that the problem was solved.
As Amy went through the story of events it was clear that she is in a positive frame of mind. The way she described what happened and how she did not panic and just worked through her checks when she realised the problem and took immediate action, really does highlight what a true professional athlete she has become. As she said, if it’s going to happen, it better to happen in the qualification round than in the head to head elimination rounds that start on Sunday for the Ladies Team and for Amy on Wednesday for the Individual rounds.
Amy has been practicing today and everything is fine, so all ready for tomorrow and everything to play for.
Moved into the village yesterday. The trip took about 5 hours from lilleshall national sports centre. At the moment the village is really quiet because not that many people have checked in. I think I was just expecting it to be really busy, and I'm sure it will be in a weeks time.
So now, I am accredited, I am officially an Olympian. It's a pretty surreal feeling because I have been working towards this goal for so long.
Today we had our first training session at Lords. The main field isn't open to look at yet but we shot on the nursery ground and it all looks so spectacular. The 10m warm up range looks like a stage. There are some steps to walk upto the warm up area and its all enclosed so when you shoot, it echoes around you. Different and quite a nice place to warm up before shooting on the 70m targets. Today was quite mild. The wind was changeable and it started raining towards the end of our training session. But I supposes you have to practice in the rain if you want to shoot well in competition in the rain.
So.... just over 2 weeks till the qualification rounds and the Big Opening Ceremony! I cant believe how fast it has gone. I remember thinking I had a couple of years to go till the Olympics in London and now it is almost here! I'm so excited and I feel like I am ready for the challenge.
It was my birthday yesterday and with my birthday cards I received a lot of nice cards and messages of good luck. I was overwhelmed with them all and very happy to have people wishing me and the team well :)
James and I are settled into our new home now and it is so nice to finally have something to call our own... But in 6 days time I will have to leave to go and live in the village for a month. My Mum, Dad, Auntie Chelle and James will be coming down to watch me shoot at Lords. I guess that's what they mean when they talk about 'home advantage'. It will be lovely to be able to see and talk to the closest people in my life while I'm competing. Once the archery has finished they will go back home and I will have time to go and support other Team GB athletes while they compete. I would love to go and watch the diving, gymnastics and athletics.
Not many days of preparation left now. The whole experience is going to be once in a life time and I cant wait :)
Wow... Its 60 days to go till the Olympics. It was the 11th May that I was officially selected for the Olympic team. I am absolutely ecstatic about been able to be a part of the 'Biggest show on earth' just like the Hunger Games but not so brutal, I've read the first book after watching the film and now I'm hooked, I need to go out and buy the second book ASAP.
As well as reading the Hunger Games I have been training hard. I have been at home and the down to Lilleshall. Trying to balance archery and my personal life is hard work but I think I'm managing it ok, I'm so lucky to have a partner,family and friends that are so understanding and supportive
Talking of my partner, James, we are both buying a house together... We hope to move in in June. I will be in USA when we can move in so James will be doing the hard work of moving everything. When I get back, it will be ready.
I have just come back from the European Championships in Amsterdam. My performance wasn't Up to my usual standard but I have things to work on and feel positive about it all... I know I can do better. Naomi shot awesome and was inspiring to watch. Her and Alison have been my idols since I was a Junior and to watch them and be apart of the team for 2012 is amazing.
Right, I better get some training done
Last week we were at Eaton Manor. We had lots of team bonding exercises including blindfolding someone and directing them around an assult course. I was the one that was blind folded with Charlotte and finally got to the end of the exercise. It was fun :) We were also put into two mixed teams and we played 'Killer' where whoever shoots an arrow the furthest out is taken out of the team. We did this until one person was left in the team. This was also good... it basically felt we were just shooting a one arrow shoot off. I think it is a good exercise to do as everyone is jut watching you and gave me a chance to test out my mental programme at this stage.
This week we are back at Eaton Manor- not as much a team bonding week but just somewhere to shoot together instead of Lilleshall. :) Tomorrow night we have a quiz. Boys against Girls.... should be interesting.
Just over a month to go till the first selection shoot. Going good so far :) We have a trip to Beiter before this though so that should be fun.
I hope you all had a brilliant Christmas and new year? It feels like ages ago now doesn't it... Christmas and new year didn't really stop me training though. I had Christmas day off and New Years day- dedicated or what? :) This year my training is just the same as before, shooting in the OIS (our dining room) and at Lilleshall. I said on twitter that I would explain the 'new invention'. So here it is. In the OIS I have a stretch band connected to the wall at about the same height as my hand would be at full draw. Then I shoot my bow with it connected to my wrist. The stretch band has to be stretched or this won't work. Basically it is supposed to be pulling against you and then when you release the arrow, you pull against the stretch band for amazing bow arm reaction. Shoot with this for a while and then take it off and shoot normal. You definitely will feel the difference. The other one is a band that my mum made with some hard material. This goes under the front arm- this is to help keep your front arm down and locked in place. The band goes around your front arm (near the shoulder) then connected to a short clingy band to the ceiling. To make this work, you have to push against it. I also use delayed cameras to see if anything else changes in my technique such as my posture. So that's basically it. They're to help get a strong front bow arm.
So these are my training tips for the year :) I am working on these and they have helped me loads.
I will check in again soon.