Thursday, July 8, 2004 Updated: April 4, 5:12 PM ET
'Second place sucks'
By Steve Wright Great Outdoor Games staff July 8, 2004
MADISON, Wis. Randy Ulmer has earned silver medals in each of the last two ESPN Great Outdoor Games Archery Events. He can sum up his feelings about those silver medals in three words.
"Second place sucks," said Ulmer.
At first thought, Ulmer, who is from Cave Creek, Ariz., asked that those three words not be quoted. Then he smiled and agreed to let the quote go on the record.
The words stand only as a testament to his competitiveness, not as any lack of sportsmanship. Ulmer is as gracious as any competitor at the Great Outdoor Games. He's just tired of finishing second.
"Second place is a miserable position," Ulmer said, while preparing to go through his practice round in preparation for Friday's competition. "It leaves you with an entire year to think about what you did wrong. I missed that last plate by a sixteenth of an inch and have had 12 months to think about it.
"And finishing in second place two years in a row sucks twice as much. It's all or nothing this year."
Ulmer also has a fourth-place finish to his credit in 2001.
As is the case with many of the events in the Great Outdoor Games, the archery competition is a blend of skills that the sport's stars see nowhere else. This event has an emphasis on speed, while most archery events reward only accuracy.
Ulmer thinks he's gained an edge for the 2004 event. He has studied last year's competition in particular.
"I've watched the video a lot," said Ulmer. "Speed is the key, but it doesn't count unless you hit the target. My goal this year is to shoot a little slower and aim a little harder."
Ulmer will be one of the favorites in Friday's event, along with last year's gold-medal winner, Darren Collins of Galena, Kan., and 2001 and 2002 gold-medal winner Randy Hendrix of Clemons, N.C.
The Great Outdoor Games archery competition includes a qualifying round to determine seeding for the 16-person field, followed by four rounds of bracketed head to head competition to determine a champion.
The archers shoot at four stations identified, in order, as "William Tell," "Bermuda Triangle," "Risk" and "Speed Challenge," with a total of 45 points possible.