Iowa's Armless Archer Aims for Gold in London

Matt Stutzman, 29, of Fairfield, is competing for the U.S. Paralympic team in next month's Paralympics in London. Stutzman, who was born without arms, came within one point of breaking the world record in archery during the Paralympic trials in April.


By Liz Blood

DES MOINES, Iowa - Iowa archer Matt Stutzman is headed to London Wednesday to compete in the Paralympic Games.

Stutzman first qualified in 2011 for the National U.S. Olympic team in archery.

Stutzman, of Faifield, was born without arms. At age 16, he got his first bow and arrow and now he's a member of the USA Paralympics team.

"There's three parts of my face I need the strings to touch at all times: my nose, the corner of my mouth and the bottom of my chin," said Stutzman. "I move my jaw a little bit and it shoots the bow."

The Paralympic Games are an international multi-sport event where athletes with a physical disability compete.

"Matt never knew he was handicapped because he was born without arms, so from the get-go, he thought he could do what everybody else could," said Stutzman's cousin, Glenda Yoder.

Wednesday, Stutzman and five of his family members, including his wife and parents, left Des Moines International Airport on their way to London.

"I'm just treating this like it is any other tournament because if I let myself sink into really how big the event is, I could actually psych myself out and not do well," said Stutzman.

Stutzman plans to be at the opening ceremonies for the Paralympics on Aug. 29. He starts competition Aug. 30 with the ranking rounds.
His first shot at a gold medal match would be Labor Day, Sept. 3.

"I'm definitely going to soak it all in, I'm going to enjoy every single minute of it. But I'm also going to try to treat it like, the competition side, try to treat it like a normal competition, but everything else I'm just going to sponge," said Stutzman.

Stutzman said he has been dreaming about the Paralympics seeing a 7-1 winning match and envisioning the crowd and atmosphere.

"Now it's here. It's here," said Stutzman.

The Paralympic Games run Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.

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