Gauvin at 1st recurve world event: It’s Tokyo or nothing

14 February 2018
Yankton, SD (USA)
A former world silver medallist with her compound bow, Gauvin aims to become an Olympian.

Two years ago Crystal Gauvin, who was ranked as one of the best compound archers in the world, decided to switch to recurve with the goal of making the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. At the World Archery Indoor Championships in Yankton she hit a major milestone on that journey, competing in her first official world tournament as part of the USA’s recurve team.

It’s one stop on a roadmap that will dominate her life in the lead up to the Games.

“This is the first big piece of the puzzle, for sure,” said Gauvin. “This year, in the US we really did have all the top women fighting to make the team. Myself and Khatuna [Lorig] had to shoot-off to make the third spot – an entire match, not a single arrow. So that was a huge confidence boost for me.” 

The goal of becoming an Olympian is an all-in bet for Crystal – and she won’t have a second chance.

“My husband and I, we made an agreement that it’s Tokyo or nothing. Even though I still work, I’m working a job that is paying a lot less with a lot more flexibility, and obviously long term I can’t keep putting off being an expert in my field,” she explained. 

“As to turning to archery full-time, I’m leaving my options open. My work has been really great with me, they know what the goal is and they’re invested in it just as much as I am.” 

Like many archers in Yankton, Crystal came directly from Las Vegas, and the three days of The Vegas Shoot.

“The last month or so has been a bit of a struggle score wise. My shots have felt pretty good but I wasn’t scoring too well, and the first two days of Vegas I was scoring the same as I have in practice,” she said.

“I went after the second day and completely retuned my bow from scratch with Doug [Denton], the engineer at Hoyt. The next day, the arrows went where they should have but the bow felt different, and the feel is so important, so that took some getting used to. I didn’t shoot as well, but the bow shot much better.” 

What is she looking forward to most in Yankton?

“The big thing for me is the team round, because both indoor world championships I’ve been to I’ve been in medal matches with the team. My first compound international tournament was the indoor world championships in 2014 in France, where I got the silver medal,” said Gauvin.

The future for Crystal is definitely outdoors, though.

“Compound I would say that I was probably a slightly better indoor shooter, with recurve, I think probably I would say a little bit the opposite,” she said. 

“With not having a scope and the way you aim and that, I think that 70 metres is a little easier – minus the conditions, obviously! I feel like I can shoot a more natural shot, the angle of the bow and so on.” 

After Yankton, Crystal’s journey continues with qualifiers for the USA squad that will attend the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit.

“[The Arizona Cup] is the first big outdoor event of the year. I live in the north-east where it’s hard to train because of the snow, so I’m going to the [Olympic] training centre [in Chula Vista] for two weeks beforehand to make sure I can go there and feel confident, the bow is tuned in, and and I’m ready to go.”

The 2018 World Archery Indoor Championships takes place in Yankton, USA on 14-19 February.