"I was lucky enough to attend three sessions. I remember the sounds: the polite-but-firm cranking of the noise level whenever Korea were shooting, the music played between. I particularly remember the tinkling, chiming stereo rattle of the flags at the top of the stands whenever the wind got up, which gave the home of cricket a gently exotic feel. The weather went from thunderous downpours to a lovely, Compton-and-Edrich light toward the end of the day, the archers casting long shadows. Underdogs were applauded, and the crowds were loud and genial.
"As a recurve archer, it was a fascinating series of lessons in form - luckily I was in stand 2, and got to see the right-handers front on. THAT's how you stand, anchor, release, follow-through. I was pleased to see the Korean archers, between ends, did 'that' hand movement with the fingers on the neck to remind themselves of how to release, just like I do. (My non-archer companion mistook it for an "I'm gonna slit your throat" gesture to the opponent). If they still need to do it, there's hope for me yet. I saw the technical trends. I saw some great Team GB moments, Amy Oliver knocking out Deepika Kumari and Simon Terry's 7-1 win.
"There were many great moments, but the women's individual final going down to the wire seemed to sum up many things about the competition, though. The brutal format of a shoot-off to decide the tie seemed to have indeed reduced the gold medal to a lottery, but it was an amazing sporting moment. When Ki Bo Bae shot first, normally so focused and confident throughout the tournament, she seemed to have finally succumbed to the tension and the weight of expectation, her coach massaging her shoulders. The wind picked up and swirled menacingly as she went to the line, and she held for just a couple of seconds too long before sending down that eight. We all gasped. She shook her head. The wind? Nerves? So it was Aida Roman's to lose, and she drew, and held, and held... and held... and held. The pressure had won. Normally fairly metronomic, she could not release. You could feel the shot slipping away from her. She held for nearly nine seconds, the clock gave her only three more and that eight wasn't close enough. In that still moment, it had gone. The tiny, tiny things that decide everything. Both of the Mexican women had shot brilliantly, but the tournament had gone back to the script. And as Ki Bo Bae stood on the podium for the Korean national anthem, fighting back the tears, you could still see the mark of the string pressed into her face."
John Stanley, Hampstead Bowmen
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