Was 2016 Brady Ellison’s best season yet?

The numbers: 2016 Brady’s best year yet?

10 November 2016
The 2016 season saw Ellison return to the incredible level he maintained from 2010 to 2012.

Brady Ellison has undoubtedly been one of the world’s best archers over the last decade. He’s the only person to have won the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final four times, has three Olympic medals, has spent numerous weeks at the top of the world rankings and boasts a 76% career match win percentage, according to our database.

The 28-year-old reigned as one of the most dominant competitors on the international circuit for three seasons from 2010 to 2012.

Although he remained in the world top 10 from 2013 to 2015, Ellison wasn’t quite bringing home the same silverware. (Although, admittedly, the year in the middle was pretty good: world field title, world indoor bronze and gold at Lausanne 2014.) His only podium in ’13 was bronze at the World Cup Final – despite finishing top eight in three stages – and in 2015, in individual competition at the world level, he failed to bag a medal.

In 2016, that changed. Brady found another gear, setting personal records for consistency over the ranking round and winning his first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage in four years, in Medellin – early in a season that culminated in a triplet of huge podium finishes, including his first individual Olympic medal.

Because it’s the offseason, and to celebrate a successful year for an historically-good athlete, we delved into how Brady’s 2016 stacked up against his previous period of dominance.

Medals

  • 2010: Archery World Cup Final Gold (1st), stages: 1 gold, 1 silver
  • 2011: Archery World Cup Final Gold (2nd), Stages: 3 gold; World Archery Championships bronze
  • 2012: Archery World Cup Final Silver, Stages: 1 gold; World Archery Indoor Championships bronze; Olympic team silver
  • 2016: Archery World Cup Final Gold (4th), Stages 1 gold; World Archery Indoor Championships bronze; World Archery Field Championships Gold; Olympic bronze, team silver

In terms of international silverware by number, 2016 is Brady‘s best year. The 2011 campaign was historic, not least because of the three (out of four stage) golds – but around the Rio Olympics, Brady had success across the board.

He won his fourth Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion title, first Olympic individual medal – and climbed the podium at world competitions in the outdoor, indoor and field disciplines.

World ranking

  • 2010: 2 (End of year)
  • 2011: 1 (End of year)
  • 2012: 1 (End of year)
  • 2016: 2 (October 2016)

World ranking correlates with wins – and over all four of the years we’re looking at, Brady was recognised as one of the best. The 2012 season has the edge, though – as even though Ellison didn’t perform individually at the Olympics, he remained in the top spot in the list. (He was just a couple of points ahead of Oh Jin Hyek, who won in London.)

In 2016, the only person that ranked higher: Ku Bonchan, the reigning Olympic Champion.

Match wins

  • 2010: 86%
  • 2011: 92%
  • 2012: 78%
  • 2016: 86%

For comparison, Brady’s match win percentage for 2013-2015 dipped to an average of 69%. It’s the main difference between that period and the 2010, ’11, ’12 and ’16 years, as although he was still making the latter stages of competitions, he wasn’t making as many finals.

In 2016, Ellison posted the joint-second-highest match win percentage of his career, behind only the 2011 season that saw him take three Archery World Cup stage gold medals. (He also shot the most international matches of his career in one year, with 36.)

As an aside, in tie-break situations, Brady has never lost below 50% in a single year. In 2016, he was right at that mark. His most dramatic shoot-off loss in 2016 was the Olympic semifinal – and biggest win the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in Odense.

Qualifying best

  • 2010: 684
  • 2011: 683
  • 2012: 690
  • 2016: 697

The 697 out of a possible 720 points that Brady shot in Shanghai to open the 2016 season was the third-highest known competition score in history. It was a personal best, and opened the year on a strong tone.

He’s never been better over the 72-arrow round than he was in 2016.

Average Arrow

Unfortunately, our average arrow statistics don’t go back further than 2014. What we do know is that Brady averaged 9.43 per shot, over matchplay and qualification, at 70 metres in 2016. That’s nearly 0.15 more per arrow than 2015, and 0.2 more than 2014.

Sounds like small margins but, then again, that’s what archery is, right?

Conclusion

Over the 2016 season, Brady was the best in qualification he’s ever been, and dominant in matchplay, too. He won medals across disciplines, climbed the Olympic podium (with the USA team again, and alone), and posted an average arrow figure to be jealous of.

At 28 years of age, and in his 10th year on the international circuit, Brady had his best year yet.

Agree? Disagree? What do you think about Brady’s 2016 season? Let us know on Twitter: @worldarchery