'Armless Archer' takes aim at new dreamPosted: Updated:
FAIRFIELD, Iowa -- An Iowa man with a worldwide reputation for precision found his passion along a gravel road that he now has to leave.
"If it wasn't for this place, and that I can shoot here in the yard, I wouldn't be as good as I am now," said Matt Stutzman, known as the "Armless Archer."
He's been shocking people since the day he was born without arms.
"All in a day's work, big toe up," said Stutzman.
Even those who knew him well couldn't believe the sport he picked up a few years ago earned him a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
"Silver is the medal you have to lose to win," said Stutzman.
It's been bugging him since the day he got back to Fairfield from London.
"Half the town showed up to cheer me on, and I got a police escort," said Stutzman. "The second I got home, I sat down with my wife and said, 'What do we need to do to make sure I'm successful in Rio?'"
First, he hired a coach.
"Of course that's hard to do because I'm the only one that does this," said Stutzman.
But he says it is working. Stutzman just took on 1,800 of the world's best archers with arms and finished in fifth place.
"They are starting to respect me not necessarily as somebody with a disability, but I'm an archer to them," said Stutzman.
He has picked up more sponsors that are supporting his family of five -- and that believe in him.
"Yeah, that's a tough decision. I mean we talked about it for a long time," said Stutzman.
This week, the family is packing moving boxes.
"I have the strength to pick them up, but there's nowhere for me to grab them," said Stutzman.
The family has plenty of help, but leaving is tough.
"My family lives in Iowa. My wife's family lives in Iowa. You know, this is my home, but in order to be the best sometimes you have to train," said Stutzman.
The family is moving near a facility outside Salt Lake City.
"So the next year and a half for me is sitting behind a bow and arrow for hours and hours and hours," said Stutzman.
He's shooting for the gold medal.
"Ultimately, I want to prove to the world that I'm just kind of normal, you know? I'm just doing my thing. I was born with no arms, yes, but I'm blessed to be able to compete with the best," said Stutzman.
He's chasing his dream.
"Most athletes have like a shelf life. I don't know how long my shelf life is so I want to grab this opportunity, take it, run with it. Then I can come back home to Iowa," said Stutzman.