The countdown to the 2021 Summer Olympics is on. There are only 170 days until the opening ceremonies and athletes across the Northwest are busy training. An archer from Bothell has been shooting for over two decades. But this year could be her best chance to live out her Olympic-sized dreams.
Erin Mickelberry is one of the top archers in the country. She first started shooting when she was 12 and picked up a bow and arrow at a summer camp.
“It was a week-long camp. We did it once a day, and I just fell in love with it. I was like, as soon as my mom picked me up, I said, 'Mom, this is the best sport in the world,'” Mickelberry recalled.
She began training at the Kenmore Gun Range with coach Mike Wischer.
“Erin’s done a pretty good job; she's learned how to compete. I think her personality wasn't one to compete. But she has learned how to handle the pressures pretty well,” Wischer said.
Mickelberry stayed on target and when the bullseyes started adding up, the wins did, too. She proved she can compete against the best in the world.
In 2019, the Mountlake Terrace and University of Washington alum hit a career high when she won a gold medal at the Pan-American games.
“It felt so surreal, as we were standing on the podium and they are putting this medal around your neck, and I’m like, 'Wow this is so heavy, this is amazing,' having the national anthem play, it was great,” she said.
Mickelberry is currently ranked #3 in the US, but earning a spot on the Olympic team won’t be easy.
“I think it's a dream or a goal for anyone. Someone who's been in any sport for so long, it's like, they've got to have that drive, otherwise, why would they still be doing it? I think it would just be great, like, to be able to say hey, Bothell, look at this,” Mickelberry said.
She works full-time, trains 5-7 days a week and shoots 200-400 arrows a day. It can be a lonely grind, just a bow, arrows and a target. But when she hits the mark, it’s all worth it.
“It's kind of hard to describe, it’s just a feeling. It’s just so nice to be able to pull it back and hear that very satisfying thunk in the target. And when you have a great shot, you know it feels good, it lands good and you are like 'WOW, that was a good one,'” Mickelberry said.
She's one of five archers from the Kenmore Gun Range on the US National Archery Team. Meet another young shooter with Olympics dreams in a few weeks on KING 5 Sports.