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The Iron Maiden Archer San Salvador - June 21, 2006 Erika LaBrie (USA) story…

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The Iron Maiden Archer


San Salvador - June 21, 2006


Erika LaBrie (USA) story…


How was the trip to El Salvador ?

The trip was excellent, with just one change.


What do you think of El Salvador ?

It is my first time in Central America, and I really like it a lot, the mountains, the flowers, and the thunderstorms !


Thunderstorms !!??

Yes, I used to be a meteorologist, so I was having lot of fun watching the thunderstorm of the other day ! But now I am a full time archer, shooting 4 hours a day and doing cardio 2 hours a day.


So do you have any financial support to attend competitions ?

Well, just a little from my sponsors Hoyt and Easton, but I still have fund mostly of my trips by myself. I am also a freelance designer in my free time.


How do you think the competition will go ?

I am sure it will be great, but I was surprised, because I was not aware that it was a FITA Round. Even though I like it more than a 70m Round, I did not prepare for it, as I have been training for 70m Rounds only lately. But here I am doing well anyways !


What is your favorite discipline ?

Definitely Field ! Actually, I get bored shooting at 70m only. I like the diversity in this sport, having different disciplines, different types of bows, different distances, that’s what I like the most. : change ! I have shot all kind of bows so far, Recurve, Compound, Longbow, Kyudo…


What do you think of your opponents ?

Actually, I am quite surprised to see only a few Europeans here, and it is a shame. However, I am happy to see that there are a lot of compound women participating. In the US we barely have 20 compound women shooting in a competition.


You were present in Porec (CRO) for the 1st stage of the Archery World Cup and ranked 9th, what are your expectations ?

Unfortunately, I could not participate in Antalya (TUR) because I was doing the qualifying trials in the US for the World Field Championships to be held in Gothenburg (SWE) later this year, and fortunately qualified in the Recurve Team ! Here I expect to have good results and level up my ranking in the World Cup, so far ranked in the top ten after the first two distances in San Salvador, I believe I will have good final results. I will also definitely go to Shanghai to ensure my place in the World Cup Final in Mexico.


Tell me a bit more about your life, how did you start archery ?

At the beginning I was not doing archery at all. I was living in Japan when I was 20 years old and I learnt Martial Arts there, that was my first love. I have several black belts in Martial Arts. One day I hurt my back and could not do it any more.


I then met archery, by shooting with a Kyudo bow. A friend of mine showed me the compound bow later on, which I actually did not like at the beginning, it was ugly to me. I tried it out anyways after a while and started to like it a lot. I then wanted to find a coach to teach me, but in Japan compound coaches are very rare. I then had to take up recurve if I wanted to find a coach, which I did.


After 3 months of shooting with a recurve bow, I achieved 1200 points at a FITA Round, and won my first tournament. After a while, a problem with the tab, hurting my hand and almost the nerves of it, obliged me to stop recurve. Then compound came up again, as with the release I had no problems with my hand.


In 2000 I won several competitions by shooting compound in Japan, I broke several national records and in 2001 I won the National Japanese Championships.


In 2002, after having spent almost 10 years in Japan, I returned to the US, because at one point the Japanese Federation did not want me to break anymore records, not having the Japanese citizenship. I then ranked 8th at the Field World Championships in Canberra (AUS).


At one point, I was listed 4 times in the World Ranking List… Recurve and Compound archer, shooting both for USA and JPN.


Back in the US in 2003, I won several important national competitions, and also made the Team for the Outdoor World Championships in New York, where I ranked 5th individually, and 1st in the Team event. We also broke the Team World Record that we still hold today.


After having made a special tab design for my hand, I also participated in the US Open in the recurve category, with no practice at all with a recurve bow before it, and won !


In 2004, I made the qualifying trials for the Olympic Games with success. But unfortunately, health problems made me resign from it.


In 2005, I was hit with breast cancer, and had to get treatment and surgery. Hopefully surgery was successful, the doctor said it was unbelievable, and made me very confident afterwards. Following a very good come back plenty of success in compound category at national level, I went out internationally, also with very good results. My goal now is to always be in the top ten of any competition, World Ranking List, World Championships and World Cup.


I will also try to qualify in the Team for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.


My birthday was just a few days ago, but after all I went through, I do not feel a year older, but a year younger.


My fellow archers tell that I am the Iron Maiden Archer !



Chantal Steiner

FITA Communication