Seventeen-year-old Casey Kaufhold beat threetime Olympic champion An San of Korea at the Worlds in Yankton. Kaufhold’s silver gave the USA its first world recurve women’s medal for 33 years. She spoke to Sophie Meering
YOU’VE HAD AN INCREDIBLE JOURNEY SO FAR, TELL US ABOUT PINNACLE MOMENTS, UPS AND DOWNS, TURNING POINTS.
My pinnacle moments in archery so far have been winning the silver medal at the 2021 World Championships, winning three medals at the Pan American Games, and competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. I believe a big turning point for me was stepping up my mental game, especially when I was competing on stage.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO ARCHERY?
I first got into archery because of my parents. My father started his own archery retail shop in 1983, and archery has been in his family for generations. My mom and her dad used to hunt, so they were involved as well. I started shooting a basic bow when I was three years old but started competing when I was eight.
HOW DID YOU COPE WITH TRAINING LAST YEAR DURING THE PANDEMIC?
I was still able to train during the COVID-19 pandemic since I shoot in my backyard. The biggest difference was just practising alone. Normally I would practise with friends or a coach, but most of the time I was by myself.
YOU WON THE SILVER MEDAL AT THE 2021 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, TELL US ABOUT THE WEEK, ANY STANDOUT MOMENTS?
The week of World Championships was really strong for me. I placed fifth in the windy qualification round, and my 1/16th and 1/8th matches went well. When I got to shoot on stage, a standout moment for me was scoring a 30/30 on my first end.
I was honoured to shoot against An San in my semi-finals match. I went into the match knowing that I couldn’t hold back. My shots and my mental process felt really strong throughout, and though I didn’t win the whole tournament, beating an Olympic champion is a win in my mind. When I made the gold medal match, I felt so happy to finally see my work paying off. This season has been full of ups and downs, but
I was almost relieved to finally see the results I’ve been looking for.
THIS YEAR HAS BEEN FULL ON WITH BACK-TO-BACK INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS AROUND THE WORLD, HOW HAVE YOU COPED?
It has been tough to bounce around from country to country all year but, in the end,
I am thankful to be busy. Being able to travel all across the world is a privilege and I’ve worked hard to be where I am. I do miss home, my family and my friends when I am away, but
I get excited to know I’ll have so many stories to share with them once I am home.
I am fortunate to have competed in both the Youth World Championships and the World Championships this year. After Tokyo I knew I needed to work on some things, so being able to shoot in the bronze-medal match at the Youth World Championship gave me some time to work on my on-stage performance. That experience contributed to my silver medal win at the World Championships.
YOU'RE STILL ONLY 17 YEARS OLD, DO YOU FEEL THERE IS MORE PRESSURE ON YOU TO DO WELL AT INTERNATIONALS?
I don’t feel extra pressure competing at a young age because I know I am towards the beginning of my career. I have a lot of time ahead of me to learn, improve and gain experience.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TOKYO 2020 JOURNEY AND EXPERIENCE.
Leading up to Tokyo, I was shooting really well. In the US Olympic team trials I shot some of the best scores I’ve ever had in a competition. In Tokyo, I didn’t perform like I wanted to. However, I learned a lot about trusting myself, and I think that can be applied to future competitions. I am fortunate to have that experience already at 17 years old.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT THREE YEARS?
Looking forward to the next three years, I have a lot of goals in mind. I want to keep travelling,
competing and hopefully winning. Other than archery, I am in the process of applying to Texas A&M University in hope to attend in the fall of 2022. I am curious to see how I will juggle competing and my education, but I will make it work.
“I WENT INTO THE MATCH KNOWING THAT I COULDN’T HOLD BACK”
WHAT DOES WEARING AND COMPETING IN THE USA ARCHERY JERSEY MEAN TO YOU?
It was amazing to win a World Championship silver medal on home soil. My coach was behind me and my mom was in the crowd.
They don’t get to travel with me very often, so having the competition in the States was easy for them to get to. It was also great to have locals come and support.
I am very proud to be an American and especially to represent my country on home soil. Being able to compete under the Stars and Stripes was a dream of mine since I was little. I used to watch all of the World Cup matches of the USA competing and it inspired me to reach that level one day.
IF YOU COULD GIVE ADVICE TO ARCHERS WHO ASPIRE TO BE LIKE YOU, WHAT ADVICE WOULD IT BE?
For archers that look up to me, I would suggest being willing to give anything a try. Archery is such a small sport but once you try it, practise and dedicate yourself, you can reach any goal you wish.