Meet the team: Australia’s Olympic men’s squad
The trio boast an average age of just 23 years of age. They are not short of experience, though.
Taylor is an Olympian from London 2012, Ryan a World Archery Indoor Champion from Nimes 2014 and, although 20-year-old Alec is only in his second international season with the squad, Potts has been a top finisher in most of the events he has competed at.
Four years ago, Taylor was the lone Australian in the archery competition at the Games, but in Rio 2016, he’ll have some company.
“It feels really good to be out to go to my second Olympics with the team this time around, just have the whole dynamic and team atmosphere – it’s going to be really good,” said Taylor.
From London, where he finished ninth, is experience that Taylor could pass on to his teammates, in order to prepare Ryan and Alec for the Games environment. As a team of veteran archers, though, he explained they all already know what to expect from international events.
“We’ve just gone through the sum of the things of what to expect in those environments, but they are really experienced archers so they know what they’re getting themselves into,” he said.
Ryan was the alternate for the Australian men’s team for both Beijing 2008 and London 2012, but for the upcoming Olympics, he broke that pattern.
“It feels really good to be about to go to my first Olympics, I tried for the last two and I just didn’t quite make it,” said Ryan. “I’m glad and makes me happy that the hard work paid off over the time.”
Alec, who shot a personal best in qualifying at Shanghai – 685 out of a possible 720 points – thinks that being with the team has helped him to perform well at events.
“Both this year and last year has been really different for me as just as Tylor was saying about the whole team atmosphere, I think this has really helped me to feel more comfortable and grow more as an archer,” he explained.
In Antalya, ahead of the Olympics, the team will be trying different combinations of its shooting order to see what fits the best. As a team, they have high hopes for what’s ahead.
There are more than 200 recurve men competing this week in Antalya – how hard does that make the event?
Alec Potts “Well, I suppose the top scores still remain the top scores. The cut will stay pretty much the same and in the end, we’ll have same amount of matches to get to the gold match, no matter how many people are out there.”
What makes this Australian team different from any other on this field?
Ryan Tyack “That we’re the only team from our continent?” [Laughs]
AP “I think probably the whole team atmosphere we have. We do very well as a team and we’ll always take it as far as we can.”
It’s hot here, it’s expected to be hot in Rio, how do you cope in hot weather?
RT “We call this January!” [Laughs]
Taylor Worth “It’s very similar to summer in Australia, we get temperatures in the mid- to high-30s or even mid- to high-40s through all the summer, so it’s quite normal for us.”
What will you do to be in best form for Rio?
RT “We are just about finding different training drills that we can maximise at the time that we’ve got. There’s only seven weeks to the games now, so it’s all about making every arrow count and not wasting any time that we’ve got. We are working out what’s best for each of us and the team.”
How do you imagine the Olympics in Rio will be?
TW “The whole culture behind Rio and where we’ll be competing in the arena for the carnival will be very colourful, very loud. It will be a spectacular Games when it all comes to fruition, but between now and then, we have just got to focus on dealing with practising and trying to implement the environment we’ll see in Rio in our training sessions so we can do the best we can.”
What are the expectations there?
RT “In London, Taylor was able to finish ninth and at the indoor world championships in Nimes 2014, we finished first and fourth. Unfortunately, Alec wasn’t able to go there, as we would have probably got a team medal if the three of us there were there.”
“With Alec shooting his 685 in Shanghai and Taylor’s 680 last year in Colombia, we do have realistic chances that we can perform well at the Games, but I guess it all comes down to doing all of our bests, of course.”
Do you have a leader on the team?
TW “We don’t. We are all quite equal in the team and we all participate in the same things. We work together and look what’s best for all. No-one is more than the other.”
Is there any secret we should know about any of you?
TW “You snore, Ryan.”
RT “Yes, I snore and you sleep a lot, Taylor! There’s some secrets...” [Laughs]