Jake Kaminski, Olympic Archer
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ELMA, N.Y. — Jake Kaminski's journey to the London Games began when he was just a young boy.
"My dad won a bow at a gun raffle and it was too big for me at the time, so I ended up getting another bow at K-Mart or something like that and shooting it in my backyard. It was just fascinating to me."
That fascination would take him to tournaments around the country. Then in 2006, before his senior year at Iroquois high school, Kaminski left home for the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.
"I shoot about 300 to 400 arrows a day, then lift weights three days a week as well as numerous other times, the cardio training to help keep my body in good shape."
But the mental strength is just as important as the physical. Jake has a tattoo on his left that reads "I AM" A saying that helped him through tough times, especially when he first moved to the training center and had to learn a new style of shooting.
"Going through that struggle of where I didn't know if anything would go through and be a positive outcome. I just kind of fall back on this because we place our hand in our bow and we check it, verify it. So 'I Am' is an affirmation; it's a statement. I am...anything. I am... an Olympian now."
And he's a member of the world's top-ranked team. Individually, he's been ranked 11th in the world with some top five finishes under his belt, so there's a realistic shot for him to bring home a medal. It's something he's had his eye on since those early days in the backyard.
"Finally, these six years of training and preparation and dedication and sacrifice, let alone all the other ones beforehand, was finally worth it. It finally came to fruition, and got the results everyone's been hoping for as well as myself."
Watch more Olympic profiles on YNN On Demand: Channel 108 in Rochester and 1009 in Buffalo.