Gossip behind the Tent Line: Brady Ellison
One of the most dominating recurve archers over the last decade has been American Brady Ellison. A product of Korean master Coach Kisik Lee and the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, Brady has matched Korean male archers’ arrow for arrow over his entire career. His trophy cabinet is probably a walk-in closet if not taking up an entire separate building from his home and he’s currently ranked (as of this post) No. 1 male recurver in the world. He hasn’t been out of the top 10 since 2010. Honestly, he’s none too shabby! ;o) But the question currently being whispered is … Is Brady Ellison done?
Let’s take a look at the root of the gossip.
Details: His entry onto the quarterfinal stage seemed to foreshadow something grim. Brady trudged onto the dais looked tired at best and disinterested at worst. While normally quite laid back, there seemed something else in his demeanour. So much so that Karim Bashir, the awesome (play by play) commentator for World Archery, made mention of Ellison’s funk. “He seems to have almost lost his love for the sport”. Colour commentator Nicky Hunt added “There hasn’t been the same energy behind Brady this year.” Note that it’s not that he shot badly, it was his execution and body language that seemed off. Kim was smooth and controlled throughout the entire match. In comparison it made the American look clunky and unpolished. On losing the match, it appeared like Brady didn’t care. Just shrugging to his coach. It was quite frankly shocking to anyone who had followed his international career. So, what’s gone wrong?
Reasons: Brady has been on the world stage since 2007 and in the top ten since 2010. The dedication and level of practice to remain at that level must be brutal. It could be that Ellison is just tired. Worn down by the endless practice, the international travel and the sheer repetitiveness of what we do. It could be something as mundane as a migraine or bad night’s sleep … Or as serious, as Karim suggested, as losing your love of archery! It’s said you should never make your passion your career, so burnout is a possibility. It’s all wild speculation currently but archers are never ones to pass up a chance for a goss.
Conclusion: The World Cup is over for the year, so there’s time for a break. We might not see Brady for a while if it is fatigue or burnout. The key shoots will be the Lancaster Archery Classic (26-29 Jan) and the Vegas Shoot (2-5 Feb) in 2023. If Ellison is still serious about his archery, he will be at these. Both are too prestigious and there’s too much prize money to miss out on especially Vegas. It would be sad to see Brady bow out if he is suffering from burnout and he’s not an archer any of us would want to see leave the circuit. However, there is a chance that going out at the top might be something he sees as being a fitting conclusion to his decade plus of dominance on the world scene. It certainly would cement his legacy and name in the record books. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Update 26/11: Brady was missing from Team USA’s line up for the Pan and Para Pan American Championships in Santiago at the end of November. Not a hugely important event but the US team wasn’t as strong as it usually is with Brady. Coulds be up and comers being given a chance. Then again … Coulds no be!
Update 29/01/23: Not only did Brady turn up to the Lancaster Classic but he won the Recurve section AND did it on the final arrow hitting the 12 point circle! Looks like he’s back.
* * *
Recurve Quarterfinal Final featuring Ellison and Kim – match starts at 13:00
Brady Ellison’s World Cup performances