Opened Ceremonies!

We walk from the hotel a few blocks to the birds nest stadium, where
the opening festivities will start in just an hour or two.
Lots of military, armored troop carriers, and police. No tanks that
we can see, and all are very strict in manner and directions. I
don’t feel the urge to walk in the grass or trample a daisy, that is
for sure! 🙂

The smog/mist creates a visible wall, as though a few blocks away,
there is no other world. This is their multimedia and security building, the display screens are literally 5 stories tall and probably twice as wide, on every side of the building. It is supposed to resemble a torch in motion, I think:CIMG5406 CIMG5412

It just, well, stops. There is a sun,
somewhere, but I sure can’t tell you where it is. Very impressive. I
have heard by way of Lindsey’s guide that the authorities have been
seeding the clouds all around the city to insure there is no rain IN
the city. It worked, I guess, because while it was warm and 100%
humidity, there were no raindrops…

The water bubble building is dark on the way in, and will be bright on
the way out, but for now there is a red glow from the very guts of the
birds nest – a fire to come.

Ok, the hot spices and peppers I had at dinner are coming back to
affect me, I fear, and my writing is getting weird.

After the fact:
The opening ceremonies had a lot of great things going for it. But if
you are on the wrong side of the stadium, you don’t see the flame, you
don’t see the fireworks (you do get to hear them). I guess they only
had half the fireworks left from the Olympics – but seriously, exactly
half of the stadium didn’t see aught but the light reflected in the
eyes of the fans on the other side as the fireworks boomed over and
over. The side of the stadium with the Oly and Para brass got an
excellent show from their seats.
The center piece of the show was a round, raised platform that had
flipping panels, one way there are suddenly rice stalks sprouted out
all over, flipped the other way and there are cherry trees in full
blossom. Lots of smoke comes up, which is good because it hides the
half-dozen workers scurrying about to flip the broken panels that
don’t want to go. I watch one guy trip and disappear into a clump of
shrubbery, and then reappear unharmed through the mist on the other
Athens had a huge, 5 or 6 story tree appear in the middle. Beijing
has a grove of 3 foot tall cherry trees.

I did feel a little bit “chinese” after the hour long instructions we
received by the mater dee of the event – there were bags on every one
of the 90,000 seats, with an LED flashlight, a twirlygig LED display,
silk scarve swatches of red, blue, yellow, or green, and of course a
miniature chinese flag and IPC flag. We are told when to wave what,
how to wave it, and when to not wave it. Highly regimented, and
everyone goes along – it’s a good crowd, certainly not like a stadium
crowd in say, Dallas or Chicago. And the LED flashlights make for
some great images in the darkened stadium.

It was a great night, all told. I am certain, after talking with
Lindsey, that the athletes felt welcomed, respected, and honored.
That’s the point, I think. That the crowds of spectators also feel
good is just a bonus – it is the night for the athletes to enjoy,
knowing that come what may, only one will stand on the highest step of
the podium and all the rest will have only the joy of having competed
and hopefully left it all on the field, given of themselves 100% at
the right moment.CIMG5418 CIMG5421 CIMG5454 CIMG5492 CIMG5506 CIMG5514 CIMG5519 P9060015

Thanks, Ron


11:32am, 9-6-2008

24 hours travel time! It took nearly 24 hours total to get to the
hotel, and was a lot harder than I remembered from traveling even 4
years ago. As I write this at 11AM, it is around 10PM back in Texas.
After two day, the jetlag is not nearly so bad. The bed is a 1″
thick plywood plank with about 1″ of cotton on top, kinda. Otherwise
completely similar to any other hotel room, and far better than some,
that I have stayed in before.

Ok, having recovered from jetlag we have been out to the CoSports
people – halfway across Beijing, away from the Olympic areas, go
figure, to pick up some 74 tickets for all the different events that
we are going to see- wheelchair tennis, rugby (aka murderball), and of
course, archery. With some track events, the opening and closing
ceremonies, and even some swimming.
Initially they were selling tickets to the ranking round of the
archery, and I was pretty happy at that – in Athens the ranking was
not open to the public, on a tiny field with no bleachers or stands.
So I thought, “hey, they got their act together here in Beijing”, and
was eagerly waiting to go to the ranking event.
Then found out this morning that the tickets I have are worthless and
there is no way for spectating during the ranking round. argh. It
will still happen, but for some unknown reason no body thinks that it
is worth allowing people to watch. Don’t they know how good archery
is? 🙂 🙂 🙂
Anyway, each ticket has a computer chip in it, and we are cautioned to
not fold them, get them wet, yadda yadda or they won’t work, and there
are NO replacements for lost or damaged tickets – no ticket, no entry.

oh well, on to more sightseeing. Yesterday we took in the silk
street building and Yashow, large 6 story buildings crammed full of
vendors and wares,(photo album) each in 10 foot or 20 foot booths, and the word
aggressive does not begin to describe the vendors – they grab your arm
and try to drag you into their space, in order to sell you something
at 4 times the value they are willing to accept. You must offer them
1/4 of what you are willing to pay, and you take turns typing the
number on their hand-held calculator. They know how to sell in
french, english, spanish, and some other languages I couldn’t begin to
describe or identify. You get the best price when you give up, thank
them, and then walk away. For westerners, it is very unsettling, at
least it is for me – I don’t do haggle very well, I guess. But they
had bags, shoes, shirts, techie stuff, you name it. But if you don’t
haggle right, you end up paying far more for it than you would at a
regular department store. So if arguing is fun for you, these places
are it!
I have discovered that is blocked. No kidding.
Can’t get there from here. So I am going to post blindly, and will
try to sneak out some photos somehow….The air is kinda visible, but
no worse than Athens’ worst days.
I have only hit my head on short doors twice, and have stopped wearing
a baseball cap (so that I can see the damn thing coming). Both times
it was only slightly amusing to the chinese onlookers…

On to the tourist spots for now, and I will start writing more as the
competitions get underway.

How is the air?

Lindsey reports foul air, filters needed. I am about to take off from DFW for Tokyo, see y’all in 15 hours… for more on Para archery happenings. Be sure to leave her a COMMENT!

The air in Beijing is hugely polluted when all of their businesses and manufacturing is “on”.  They will in theory turn off the worst of it just before the Paras begin, and pray for winds to blow favorably.  Here is a photo of the sun, taken in the afternoon, near the Olympic Green: CIMG5834

Begin The Beijing

There has been no greater effort to honor the Olympic movement than what China has put forth for the 2008 Olympics.

Take the world’s two largest sporting events – the Olympics and the Paralympics – and put them down right in the middle of one of the largest countries, with the longest durations of history and civilization, and in the middle of a huge city of some 17 millions.


I can hardly wait to begin the Beijing Siteseeing – both the athletic sites and the historic sites.  I have a brand new pair of tennis shoes, and I expect to wear them out experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

It is done

The weather was a factor today during the US Open – particularly lightning – which interrupted the shooting at times.  When it wasn’t ZOTTING things, the weather was good –  temps were cool, the sun when out was powerful.  Some good arrows were shot.  Randi Smith, Team Leader for the Paras,  told me that there was some 25 or so new Paralympian records (!), which I will get to process in due course in my role as the recordkeeper.

NOTE TO ALL ARCHERS AT THE CHAMPIONSHIPS: If you think you shot a record, check it out on the home page of this website, and also check the STAR FITA records pages ( The Target Championship is a “National Championship” as well as a “STAR FITA” event, so it is possible to set two records with the same scoresheet & claim.  FILL out the form on this website, and send it to the good folks at the USA Archery offices.  They forward it to me and I do the rest – before you know it you will be famous (well, posted on the website at least).

Thanks to Lorinda and all the folks that helped her run this event.  WOW.  What a great event.  Be sure to look through the thumbnail pages for videos and photos of friends and yorseff. 🙂

From the Annual Meeting

I forgot to mention one announcement:   Denise Parker and her company will be responsible for conducting an international archery event in Ogden, UT, called the Youth Olympics.   JOAD-age archers from around the world will be invited, I think…  The date is tentatively set for July 18, 2009, and the James Easton Foundation headed up by Don Rabska will be the primary sponsor for this event.  I may have the actual name wrong – if so, I am certain to be corrected shortly 🙂

And I stopped on the way out of the OTC tonite, while the Beijing Opening Ceremonies were being played here in the US (tape delay of 14 hours) and took photos of the main street of the OTC and the cauldron that burns for the games.  Check the Olympic Spirit link of the Target 2008 Index page….

I witnessed an interesting conflict among the female recurves, and the uncharitable nature of it struck me quite by surprise.  One archer, following the rules, called for a health-related delay due to a “pain” she was experiencing.  Essentially, an equipment failure type issue, only one with her body – it hurt so much that for a moment she felt she was unable to shoot.   I was surprised at first but upon consideration, and knowing that the judges we have are extremely conscientious, I concluded this was completely consistent with the somewhat non-specific rules.  The archer  recovered within the time limit, shot a number of arrows, scoring each set of three, and then just one.   A judge controlled the shooting and the archer wasted no time in executing the shots, hustling down to the target (with a target mate) to score and return to the line.   During this time several archers well, just about went ballistic, making extremely rude, caustic and angry comments.

To see such unsportsmanlike behavior from some archers that I truly admire caused me a lot of emotional thoughts and distress –  and it reminded me that each and every person, from the first year shooter to an olympian, is still just human after all, and subject to the usual human shortcomings in us all, such as jealousy, enmity, and the desire for self to prevail over others, as well as the fear of someone getting ahead.  Perfectly natural human feelings and behaviors.   Disappointing, none the less.   I had thought better of our sport and THAT was my shortcoming.  May we in the sport of archery always welcome diversity, support inclusiveness, and tolerate “weakness” in others, and reach out to support those and raise them up rather than tear them down. (within the rules, of course)

Tomorrow the recurves shoot the OR in the morning, the wheelie people shoot together after lunch.  I’ll be shooting as many archers as I can. Photographcially speaking, of course 🙂 🙂 🙂

where to find

Bernd, and all others interested in archery:  The TSAA website is a compendium of information on many aspects of target archery.  You can find much of what you want to read (even if you do not yet know what you want yet) by reading the items listed on the DOCUMENTS page of the website.  For parents of archers, the JOAD index page ( ) will provide you with a 25+ page FAQ for parents and beginning archers.   Good luck and congratulations for getting your son involved in the most sportsman-like sport in the Olympics.  <hint: look for bowstand on the documents list >

It has started

At 6:08 am in Colorado time, the Olympics Opening Ceremonies started.

To view archery stuff online, which is probably the best, maybe only, way to see video at this point, use this link:

And, go to the root for all Olympic coverage,

Note that you have either have Windows VISTA, or else use a program from Microsoft called Silverlight (it is  competitor to Adobe’s FLASH software).  It’s a pain, but it is worth doing/installing, and it is free.

End of Day 3


Only one day left till the opening ceremonies!

Only one day left till the opening ceremonies!

Today was happily drier than I expected.  The overnight rains dried up on the way to the field, and aside from the soggy grass and a few blown-over target stands things were ok.  The temperatures were on the chilly side, and there was a wind blowing from the north that was variable enough to push the arrows left, right, and down. (All at differing times).  It did some neat things to the mountain tops, which were shrouded in layers of clouds resembling cotton.

The sun came out at times, enough to make me wish I had used sunscreen.  Shooting went very well, with little delay.   I do think there was much faster scoring – there was one end where the guy compounders finished at the same time as the women!  <grin>

Went shopping over at the spirit store in between trips to the OTC infirmary and I have never seen so many guests touring the facility as this.  The entire place is quite alive.  I guess the Olympics make people more aware of the facility.  Lindsey and I were walking on the main mall of the OTC.  There are steel cutout figurines for the various sports, depicting men and women in action.   There is even a couple of bows and a target stand.   It reminds me of a ghost town in that it doesn’t look quite *real*, but it is at least once every four years.   In the shop, there are TWO items related to archery that you can wear. (well, there is a pin you can put on something you are wearing, I guess).  And one shirt that has the word paralympic on it.  As long as you wear a size small kid size, it’s for you!

Aside from the rain that is falling on the afternoon line, I guess things are pretty much the same as two days ago.  I’ll start working on the photos from this morning and upload them next.

Day Two Summary

Only Two days till the Opening Ceremonies

Only Two days till the Opening Ceremonies

The short distances of the first round are done.  The temps were much more comfortable than the first day, downright pleasant with only the slightest breath of wind cooling but not deflecting.   The afternoon line (male recurve/female compound) had slightly more wind, and some of the guys were heard griping –  (sigh)….But the winds were little of concern to the more mature female compounders, I guess.

A point:  I suspected this yesterday, but decided to make sure by double-checking it today before I posted anything.  No offense meant, ok?   First, the youth archers cleaned the clocks of the adults, with regard to finishing up their shooting first.  They were simply faster in the entire process.   Second, (and the reason Number 1 is true),   I checked *every* dang end today – and that is 24 ends of shooting.   And in each and every end, the women recurves were all back in the tents, arrows scored, pulled, yadda yadda, well before the men compounders got done adding up their “X, 10, 10” scores.  Of course, the reason the guys can’t get their act together and finish scoring before the women is because they haggle over every line <grin> call.  But really, the entire competition hinges on them and their pace.  It might be time for the Tourney Organizer to consider separating the shooting of the left and right sides of the field.  The women could have been done oh, 30 minutes sooner, if not more.  Downright embarrasing, if’n ah was one of the guys down there holding thangs up so bad.  And no, it wasn’t because of a bunch of equipment failures or pass-throughs/shot out cores (there were a couple of those, but certainly NOT 24 ends’ worth!)

I have to mention Janice Walth, the “blind” archer – she is not able to see, but uses a sight attached to a tripod to judge her bowhand position, to shoot.  She has a remarkable form, shot cycle, and execution that would put many sighted archers to shame.  I have some video clips and photos of her, and her husband & coach manages to shoot at the same time as she does.  Now, I tried shooting while Lindsey competes, and I just …cannot…do…it.   How he is able to focus on what he is doing while she is competing also is a mark of maturity I just cannot claim.

I’ve just finished editing the photos from today – much fewer on the days of short distances – 3-arrow ends just don’t allow me to roam far from Lindsey’s target bale.  I’ve added names to a number of frames, and hopefully you will comment with the names and the addresses to photos yet unnamed.  They will start uploading NOW, and should be done in an hour or so (around midnight, mountain time).  BTW, it is 11pm at this point for those without calculators)

Temps are supposed to be even better (cooler) tomorrow.  yay..woo…hoo.  BTW, Linds and I took in a movie this pm to relax in a cool and not-bright place.  Whatever you do, never, ever, ever, see the movie Pineapple Express.  Nuff Said.

I just realized I hear the wwshhheeer sound of wet tires outside the hotel.  It is raining so the fields will be nice and WET tomorrow am.  yay.  Yawn.

A quick check of the software says that 562 photos are being albumized (some are updated w/names photos from Day 1)

An apology to our friends with dialup internet connections.  While the thumbnail pages will load in a decent amount of time measured in seconds and minutes, viewing a video clip will take a *long* time – many videos are over a megabyte in size.  Sorry about that – mouse click and then go get a bite to eat, I guess.

And in case you were wondering WHY the results are being posted on the site for Texas A&M, it is because Lorinda Cohen has taken on the thankless task of running the tournament, along with assistance from a number of prior conductors including Darrell Pace, Steve Cornell, MJ and Marihelen Rogers, Tara Robey, Bill Coady (also of TAMU), and many others.  Since Lorinda is an Aggie, we don’t require her to know more than one website’s ddress and the TAMU address has fewer letters than the USA Archery’s website – so there you go!  Here are the results so far.

Day one is done

As the day of shooting is about to commence, the clock counts down

As the day of shooting is about to commence, the clock counts down


The bright morning faded into a cloudy and overcast afternoon and the last end of the day had intimidating raindrops.  Everyone cleared the field in record time and then the drops quit till near sunset.  Tomorrow morning the female recurves and male compounders start the day’s shooting (50 meters & 30 meters), and they will start the day by moving all their targets to the starting distances, something they skipped doing today due to the boogeyman (rain).

The OTC spirit store is FULL OF STUFF – I predict a great sale on gear starting the day after the Olympics Closing Ceremony.  Somethings are already marked down.  I find a lot of the Beijing stuff (almost all made in China, go figure) to be passable, borderline kitschy, and some is just plain cool (or dumb).   I will gripe here and now about the WALL STREET gall of the Polo people who did the athletes’ wardrobe – understatement is NOT in their vocabulary when it comes to their own dang logo.  Some of the shirts have this HUGE horse and rider in a helmet (guess what kind of helmet<G>) waving a polo mallet.  So it looks like the sport is polo, not archery, nor volleyball, nor track, nor swimming.  At least they could have replaced the elite polo mallet (how many people actually play polo these days, aside from the primary beneficiaries of the administration’s inner circle of friends/tax cuts/whutever), and put a sport-specific tool, such as a bow in his hand, or a volleyball, or a javelin, etc… depending on the sport <grin>.  I give it 5 stars on the tackiness scale.

So much to write, but that is good because right now there are 350+ photos and video clips uploading and I need to stall….

The USA Archery/NAA annual meeting was held tonite instead of the traditional later in the week (Thursday?  I forget the tradition, egad!), earlier than usual because the Executive Director boards a plane tomorrow for Beijing.  I learned tonite at the meeting that the membership has grown to over 7,500 which is great.   As usual, the attendance for the meeting was only a pathetic 35 or so people.  Last year, in the throes of a scandal, the meeting then hardly had 1% of the membership attending.  Tonite, I reckon we had .4% (0.004666666666666666666666666666666666666667 if you don’t like rounding down much).  Moral of that story – we need a scandal each year to stimulate attendance.

Also, the scandal of last year continues, with a court date of August 25.  Nothing good will come of it, I fear.  So my notion of having a scandal each year doesn’t hold water, unless we make it a NEW SCANDAL I guess.

On a positive note, well, there must be a positive note, right?  hmmm.  It’s been 2 minutes now, I am still looking for that positive note.  Hang on.  It’s there, maybe. OK, I came back here 15 minutes later to post an update on that positive note, but I forget what it was.  Must not have been important.

I give up.  Go check the photos. <sigh>  And I’ll post an update when I find that postive note to only 35 people out of 7,500 showing up for the ONLY meeting of the year where we get to talk with our Board.   There were several board members there – none of the new ones, and the Chairman of the board couldn’t make it, but that COULD the postive note…right?

Bright Day 1

Day 1 of competition begins, with the guy recurves and the girls with wheelie thingies on their bows.  Should be very good conditions!

A reminder for anyone viewing the photos and videos.  If you click on any thumbnail, you can then use your cursor left and right arrow keys to scroll through photos.   When you are viewing a video clip you can click on the pause icon ( || ), and then use the arrow keys to step through frame-by-frame, and also see-saw back and forth.  Watch that arrow accelerate, the bow limbs quiver, the string warp over and over.

Over at the OTC there is a countdown clock, right on the side of the wall near the spirit store.  It’s really odd to look at it and see “4 days”.  Over the last few years when I came to the OTC it was always displaying a point in time very far away – almost not real.   NOW, it is totally REAL.  It will say 3 days when I go over this morning, and I can’t wait to see it at “1 day”.

The photo are beginning to upload now.

Links will not work until the files are uploaded.   There are just under 400 megabytes’ worth of photos and quicktime video clips to upload and that process will start just as soon as I publish this note. It will probably take an hour or so for ALL of the photos to be uploaded.

here is the link to where the photos will be – try the link to the official practice day.

Ok, it is official, now…

The day of official practice (till 1:30pm, anyway)  has been done.   A whole lot of people showed up, including a bunch of athletes from Taipei and Mexico.   The field is in great shape thanks to Lorinda and company.

The practice was shot single line, three per target.  I think the competition is likely to be the same starting tomorrow AM with with Guy Recurves and the Lady Compounders.  The temps today were a leetle on the warm side, not quite the heat we shoot through in Austin but pretty hot and dry for Colorado.  Forecast is for cooler.

We actually smelled some smoke after shooting (on our way to some Old Chicago Pizza and some shopping in Manitou Springs’ old downtown district), and the valley between us and Pikes Peak was filled with smoke for an hour or two this evening.  Frequent lightning strikes coming out of small thunderheads might have been responsible.  I’m busy right now setting up several hundred video clips and another hundred or two of regular shots.

They will be posted by around 10pm Mountain time, I hope.  Coaches, do NOT let your archers watch any video of themselves at this point, it will just mess with their heads – these videos are extremely useful for revealing flaws in technique, and the eve of the national target is NOT when they need to doubt their abilities or method.  Use it later, when they get home, and you can point out how they can improve their nationals’ score through improvements.

Food at the OTC is good, as always, though the animal protein tends to get a little dried out – the grill is a good alternative.  You would think the OTC (Olympic Training Center) would be *deserted* 4 days prior to the Opening Ceremonies in Beijing, but the business of creating excellence is 24/7, and truly, the next Olympiad has already been put into gear.   There is a full house of youth at the OTC, some are athletes that *just* missed the cut at the trials.  Some are teams for prospective sports, I think.  And there are teams of  KIDS who will be “just right” in 4 years.  The USOC is clearly (to me) a long term investment house, and it is entirely the best way to go.  Allowing excellence to mature slowly, on track, is a sound investment in the capital of the best of America.

Anyway, back to editing videos down to their essence, tweaking the photos, tossing the embarassing ones (I leave it to you to figure out whether they are embarrassing to me or to the archer) – or both….

More tomorrow.  And the Nutragena 70 ain’t quite cutting it – I’m gonna have a nice sunburn if we don’t get some more clouds…  And there will be a link here when the photos are uploaded to the USA Archery Records website.

how unofficial can you get?

The “unofficial” practice held the day before “official” practice is held allows archers to shoot in *anything*.  Sandals, for example, and JEANS, ohmigawd, he’s in bluejeans!  And check out those miniskirts!  woohoo, that makes the young guys focus alright….No whistles, just common sense…well, there were some whistles, but not for timing the archers, If you know what I mean…

When the sun comes up tomorrow (Monday), everybody will be wearing navy blue, khaki, or white pants, skirts, kilts, and shorts (or else).   Close-toed shoes (ie, no sandals), with or without socks.   The judges will likely be out with rulers, checking the length of shortshorts and skirts, and will be staring at midriffs, waiting for the bellybutton to show as the archer goes to full draw and the too-short shirt scootches up too far.  This is a great  reason for learning the BEST method, BTW – archers using the BEST method stay “chest-down” and rarely show their navels.  Go figger!

Just a reminder – archers that fail to adhere to the USA Archery Dress code will not be allowed to shoot during official practice, and if they are shooting when discovered/noticed, they will either be asked to leave or else required to wear a girly-boy navy blue APRON.  (one judge showed me his stock of shaming garments)  I feel certain that the wearing of SCARLET LETTERS may be looming on the horizon.  And I didn’t ask the judge what happens when he acosts the archer who LIKES wearing girly-boy stuff as a way to irritate the “establishment”….  If they get kicked off, they can still go to a small section of the field near the YOUTH field, and use the target bales there to get their sight marks while they look uncouth.

There was no rain, till sunset when some light rain came up from the south.  I showed up to help with the field crew at just the optimal time – they were all just about done, but hey, I offered!  <G>

TO ALL THOSE with popup tents – be sure to nail them down.  Wind gusts have already flipped a number of tents, and scooted the portajohns a surprising distance over the grass.

Photos are uploading now (click on the link for 2008).  if you get an error when you click on the 2008 link, it just mean that the hotel I am staying at has sloowwwwwwwww internet.  check back a little later or else look through the 2007 photos – we are in the same place, so you will see much the same 🙂   Yawn.

USA Archery Target Nationals 2008

Every year for many, many year, in the late summer, a whole bunch of guys and girls gather together and spend a week shooting arrows at a variety of distances.   These archers come from all parts of the US and some from further away.   The National Target Championship will be held this year in Colorado Springs, CO, in Memorial Park.

I will probably write some notes on the process.  There will be photos and video clips.  Not sure how many, but check this space.