USA Archery An Interview with Teresa Iaconi, press officer www.teamusa.org/USA-Archery USA ARCHERY IS the National Governing Body for the Olympic sport of archery. It is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee for the purpose of selecting and training men’s and women’s teams to represent the U.S. in Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Pan American Games. USA Archery also selects teams for World Championships, World Cups and other international competitions annually. Membership in USA Archery is open to everyone involved in all disciplines of archery. The mission of USA Archery is to provide the necessary resources to foster strong athlete participation, competition and training in the sport of archery. Sports Destination Management: Archery has been in the spotlight recently. Teresa Iaconi: “The Hunger Games” opened in March, and “Brave” came out after that. Then we had the summer Olympic Games and that brought us a massive surge. NBC reported that archery was actually the most-watched sport the first week of the Games. They were calling archery ‘the new curling.’ As a result, USA Archery has had huge gains in membership. As of July 1, our membership had increased by 29 percent over six months. We’re also seeing club numbers, meaning people joining archery clubs locally, as well as people forming new clubs, going through the roof. SDM: Are more people trying the sport for recreation? Iaconi: Yes, and that’s great because archery is a sport that you can love immediately. We see it all the time: kids try, hit the target and they want to keep doing it. Archery is fun even if you’re not good at traditional sports. SDM: It’s offered on the Paralympic level too. Iaconi: It’s a sport for everyone. Something we’ve found is that many children with learning disabilities can enjoy archery too. It encourages them to relax and concentrate. It’s good for physical ability and cognitive ability and, of course, it’s great for their self-confidence. SDM: Are there any misconceptions about archery? Iaconi: People sometimes have this idea that it’s dangerous. Actually, it’s one of the safest sports around. In all the years I have been participating, I have never seen anyone injured with an arrow. The most frequent injury in archery is someone pulling a muscle because they’re not using wellfitted equipment. We encourage anyone who wants to learn archery, or who wants to get their children involved, to find an archery club first. They can set you up with instruction and with rental equipment that is the right size, and give you good information about what to buy when you’re ready. SDM: How many events does USA Archery sanction? Iaconi: USA Archery sanctions more than 300 events annually and conducts indoor, outdoor and youth National Championships as well as the United States Archery Team Qualifier Series. Our numbers of people competing in all those events are growing. USA Archery also conducts youth and adult archery programs throughout the United States, and trains archery instructors and coaches. SDM: Are there archery-specific facilities for competitions? Iaconi: Most places do not have them. For indoor events, we can use a high school field house. It has to have a specific shooting distance and plenty of room for everyone to move around. There has to be enough parking, no matter where you are. An outdoor event needs the right amount of space as well as level, well-maintained fields with the events laid out so that the sun is not in the archers’ eyes when they’re competing. We love using city parks because people who happen to be walking or biking through the park can see what we’re doing and stop and learn about the sport. SDM: You’ve talked a lot about youth archery, but there are adult archers too. Iaconi:There are. It’s not just a sport for the young. We have one archer who at the age of 36, went to his first Olympic Games. It literally is a lifelong sport. We have archers in their 60s and 70s and they’re not stopping. It is a sport that will take you as far as your dreams and hard work will allow.
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