The Armless Archer

Matt Stutzman won a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympics, broke the Guinness World Record for longest archery shot (230 yards or approximately two football fields), and  then broke his own world record at 310 yards. He is ranked the eleventh best archer in the world and is called the Armless Archer because he has accomplished everything without arms.

I was lucky enough to interview him about the upcoming Rio Paralympics, London 2012, and his family!

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The Olympics of Blogs: What are you most excited for in Rio?

Matt: I am most excited about the opportunity of competing in my second games and for another shot at a Gold Medal.

The Olympics of Blogs: Why did you choose archery as your sport?

Matt: I chose archery because it is the only sport that doesn’t stereotype against any athlete. Anyone can pick up a bow and be the best in the world at it with enough practice.

The Olympics of Blogs: What has been your favorite moment at a competition?

Matt: My favorite moment in a competition was back in 2014 when I competed at indoor nationals, which is the largest competition in the US. I became the first person with a physical disability to shoot a perfect score, I did not miss any points. I was one of only eight athletes to do so.

The Olympics of Blogs: What has been your proudest moment as an athlete?

Matt: My proudest moment as an athlete was representing Team USA in the 2012 London Paralympic Games and being part of something bigger than myself.

matt-stutzman-article.jpgThe Olympics of Blogs: Have you ever thought about competing in the Olympics and the Paralympics as some athletes have done? Would you do it? 

Matt: I would compete in the Olympic Games, but as of right now they don’t allow the use of compound bows, which is what I shoot. Until the they allow compound in the Olympic Games, I will compete in the Paralympic Games.

The Olympics of Blogs: What were you thinking as you stood on the podium after you won silver at the 2012 Paralympics?

Matt: I thought about where I had left my gloves…. lol. But in all seriousness, I just thought about how proud I was to represent the United States of America.

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The Olympics of Blogs: What inspires you?

Matt: My family inspires me because they look up to me and I want to show my boys that with hard work, you can overcome anything.

The Olympics of Blogs: Is it difficult to balance training for the Paralympics and having a family?

Matt: Yes, it is difficult. I have to budget my time wisely and have a good dose of family mixed in with training.

87 More Days to the Olympics!

It’s so close now, and I’m even more excited because I received my invitation to volunteer over the weekend.

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I will be working Press Operations, which means I’ll be at the center of everything! My job description is to provide official operational information to clients, prepare documents and signs, distribute press kits, certificates and medals, and provide translation and support services for lost and found operations. I can’t wait to volunteer!

Yesterday, I also bought a ticket to the Closing Ceremony. The Opening Ceremony tickets went so fast at the very beginning of the process, so I was extremely surprised to see Closing Ceremony tickets still available. Going to the Closing Ceremony will be awesome for so many reasons, but especially because I’ll get to see Rio 2016 pass on the Games to Tokyo for 2020!

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Here is a photo from when London 2012 passed the Games to Rio 2016 during the Closing Ceremony.

My GoFundMe is still going strong! I have reached the 25% mark, which is absolutely amazing! Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and who is following along on my journey. I definitely couldn’t do it without you.

Here is the link (https://www.gofundme.com/carolynroadtorio) to my page if you are interested in how I’m doing. 😀

I’m almost done with school, so I will be doing a lot of catch up on events with this blog soon. Keep an eye out for them!

100 Days to the Olympics!

Only 100 days to the Olympics! That’s really only a little more than 3 months… Wow! When I started this whole process of applying to volunteer during the Olympics, it was 2014 (2 YEARS AGO!), and now it’s only 3 more months! I am so excited!

I still don’t have my volunteer placement yet. The new date on when they’ll have all of the volunteer placements assigned is May 31, which is very close to the Games! However, I have completed the available training on the Volunteer Portal so far. I’m ready!

Because the Olympics are so soon, I started a gofundme page a week ago to help me cover the cost of going to them. I’m so thankful for everyone who has donated and shared it so far! Here is the link to the page: https://www.gofundme.com/carolynroadtorio. Anything you are able to give helps! Even sharing it on social media goes a long way! Going to the Olympics in a little more than 3 months will be a dream come true. Thank you everyone for your support!

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Today is the Road to Rio 100 Days Celebration in Times Square, and as soon as my class gets out at 2:45 pm, I’m sprinting over to Times Square to celebrate! I will write a blog post about it in the coming week! 🙂100days.PNG

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151 Days to Rio! (Road to Rio Update)

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Here’s my Rio update! I’m still on the Road to Rio, and the final destination is getting closer every day! Only 151 days to go! Here is where I am in my preparations:

Housing:

I booked my housing Saturday on airbnb. Even though I’m still a little nervous about using airbnb, I think it has security measures in place to deal with all of my worries. I’m renting a room in a house in Recreio dos Bandeirantes (which is near Barra da Tijuca, where the Olympic Village and most of my events are located).

Where I’ll Be Volunteering:

I still don’t know. 😦

Volunteer Meetup:

I met other volunteers who are going to Rio and who live in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania on Sunday, February 28. We met at a restaurant called Vonda’s Kitchen in Newark, NJ. After some trouble trying to get to the location, I finally made it, and it was amazing! Everyone was so sweet, and I loved meeting people who are doing the same thing as me. We all love the Olympics so much, so it was fun to share stories about our different Roads to Rio!12794835_1981753342050865_4669878640739798368_o.jpgThat’s the update for now, but expect more updates on my Road to Rio soon! I can’t believe it’s only 151 days to go! 😀

If you know of any fun and exciting places in Rio de Janeiro that I should go to while I’m there, let me know by commenting! Thanks for reading!

My Road to Rio (So Far)

I began my Road to Rio in November 2014 when I applied to volunteer at the Olympics, and then on November 30, 2015, I was approved! YAY!!! I couldn’t believe it!

Here’s what happened before I was chosen as a volunteer:

To apply, I filled out an application on their volunteer portal. It was short but also difficult because only a small amount of characters were allowed for each answer. For example, I had to say why I wanted to volunteer for Rio 2016 in only 200 characters including spaces. That’s hard!

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Submitted my application!

After applying, I did two language tests and an online dynamic (that tested how I would act in situations I might experience while volunteering at the Games). The online dynamic made me extremely excited because they did a really good job of simulating the Games! It’s crazy to me that in under 190 days, I will actually be there!

Until October of 2015, I didn’t hear anything about volunteering, but I was determined to go to the Olympics anyway. The United States sells Olympic tickets through CoSport, and since last spring, they have been selling them in a variety of ways. At first, it was a lottery system. People chose what events they wanted to go see and entered the lottery for those events. At this point, all of the events were available. I managed to get a ticket to the final of the Men’s 10 Meter Platform Diving! This event is always really exciting because I used to dive, and also because it’s really hard to predict who will win! David Boudia from the U.S. won it at the last Olympics.

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Sports of the Rio Olympics and Paralympics

Since the huge lottery, CoSport has been releasing tickets sporadically, and I’ve been buying them. So far, I have tickets to nine different events (although I may try to sell some of these based on times). They are for Diving, Football (AKA soccer), Archery (two different events), Handball, Table Tennis, Badminton, Fencing, and Athletics (AKA Track and Field).

Surprisingly, my most expensive ticket was $123, and my least expensive was $20. That’s not bad for the Olympics!

In October, I had an online group interview with someone from the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, which only built the excitement. I was so nervous during it, and then on November 30, I was picked!

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Now, I’m waiting for my actual assignment, but I’m happy that I’m going! I bought my plane tickets this past week, and I’ll be renting a place to stay very soon.

Only 186 more days!

Hello 2016!

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s already 2016!

2015 was an awesome year for me. I volunteered at the Special Olympics World Games, started interning at Special Olympics New York, created this blog, met two of my heroes, made a lot of amazing new friends, and was accepted to volunteer at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro! 2015 made me really excited for 2016!

In honor of 2016, here is a list of 16 things I am excited about for 2016.

  1. VOLUNTEERING AT THE RIO OLYMPICS!!!!!!! 112414-OLYMPIC-2016-MASCOT-AS-PI.vadapt.620.high.55
  2. Watching the Olympics in person!
  3. Going to the Olympic Village in Rio.
  4. Exploring Rio de Janeiro.
  5. Trading Olympic pins with people from all over the world.
  6. Continuing to intern at Special Olympics New York.
  7. Growing my blog and updating it more frequently.
  8. Meeting more people who love the Olympic Movement just as much as I do!
  9. Graduating from Pace University in December 2016.
  10. Getting my first full-time job!IMG_4864
  11. Volunteering around the city (and writing blog posts about it!).
  12. Writing my senior thesis on the Olympic Movement.
  13. Turning 21.
  14. More Special Olympics New York competitions!
  15. Learning Portuguese.
  16. Summer ❤
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Happy New Year in Portuguese

 Happy 2016 to all of my followers! Here’s to another gold medal year!

The Things You See In Times Square

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You don’t get to see the U.S. Synchronized Swimming team performing in Times Square every day. Thank goodness I was there to see it happen on September 24! The synchronized swimmers performed routines every fifteen minutes in a large tank in the middle of Times Square near the TKTS steps, and it was so cool!

The whole event was designed to promote Epson’s new printer, the ecotank. There was a tent set up next to the tank that was filled with printers, so people could actually try them out. This event was called #SwimmingInInk because the synchronized swimmers were actually swimming in a tank, which represented the printer, with four colors, which represented the printer’s ink. It was an ingenious way to market the new printer.

I watched the routines for a very long time because the performances were so captivating. I loved watching them!

Here are some more photos:

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The swimmers wore different swim suits depending on what routine they were doing. I was able to talk to the creator of the suits, Andrea Robertson. Her company, Triflare, creates very bold and colorful activewear for triathlon athletes. The U.S. Synchronized Swimming Team will wear these beautiful suits at the 2016 Olympics!

Inside the tent full of printers, there was a Step and Repeat where you could take a photo with some of the synchronized swimmers. I was lucky enough to have mine taken with two synchronized swimmers, Anita Alvarez and Mariya Koroleva, who already qualified as a duet for Rio!

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Kerri Strug, one of my favorite Olympians, was at this event as well! She spoke during a few of the breaks between the routines and gave the synchronized swimmers advice about the Olympics throughout the day.

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Kerri Strug competed at the 1992 Olympics and won a bronze medal in the team competition; however, her real Olympic moment happened at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Here’s a video on what happened:

 

Kerri Strug is a true Olympic hero and truly speaks to beauty of the Olympic Movement. I’m so happy that I was able to meet her and ask her a few questions for this blog. I asked her what her favorite part of the Olympic Movement was, and she replied that it was the athletes because they show everyone that achieving your dreams is possible. I also asked her if she was planning on going to the Olympics in Rio, and she said she wasn’t sure. She’s been to every Summer Olympics since Atlanta, but she usually doesn’t know until closer to the date.

She was only able to talk for a little because she had to leave for the airport, but I was so excited about every second of it. It’s amazing to have met one of the Olympic heroes that inspire me, and I think it’s awesome that she was able to help the aspiring U.S. Synchronized Swimming Olympic athletes. #SwimmingInInk was a success for U.S. Synchronized Swimming, Epson’s ecotank, and The Olympics of Blogs!

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My Road to Rio: Brazilian Day

Because I’m going to the Olympics in Rio in 2016 (yay for 7 tickets so far!), I’ve started preparing by learning the language, trying to figure out where to stay, and learning the culture. I don’t know a lot about Brazil besides the basics, but I’m working on it.

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Last weekend, I learned that there is a Brazilian Day festival in NYC, so I went! It was on sixth avenue from around 42nd Street to Central Park. It was part street fair, part Brazilian cultural festival. There were so many people dressed in the Brazilian colors of yellow and green. They had tents selling beautiful yellow and green clothes. Tents were also selling lots of meats, Brazilian food, lemonade, and random things like cell phone cases and bowls made of chopsticks. There was also a tent where you could kick a soccer ball.

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IMG_6474It was a very fun day. I saw Brazilian people dancing and singing, and I even saw Miss Brazil 2015! I met some people from a The Legion of Good Will, a nonprofit that works in Brazil and NYC and could help me in Brazil if I need it, won a t-shirt from Delta Air Lines that says “I survived Brazilian Day 2015,” and tried an arepa (I didn’t like it). Mainly, I just really loved the feeling of being immersed in a different culture.

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People dancing

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Miss Brazil being interviewed

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An Arepa, which is kind of like a pancake corn bread

TIMG_6513he experience was amazing, and it just made me even more excited to go to Rio in 2016! The sign to the right says “Show everyone how you’re enjoying the #BRDAYNY,” and with this blog post, I just did!

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The 2016 Olympics

After watching the 2012 London Olympics, I promised myself that I would be at the next Summer Games. Last December, I applied to volunteer at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am anxiously waiting to hear back about volunteering, but in the meantime, I bought four tickets to the Olympics! Just in case I am not selected to volunteer, I’m still going!

I’m so excited that I am actually able to do what I promised! I am ready to see what I have dreamed about for so long. There are a few problems such as cost and place to stay, but those can be addressed closer to the Games. The important thing is that I’m going to the Olympics!

Here are the events I’m going to see:

– Soccer (AKA Football), 8/3/2016

– Archery, 8/6/2016

– Handball, 8/15/2016

– Diving, 8/20/2016

I’m most excited about diving because I will be able to watch Tom Daley, the diver who inspired me to start diving, compete! I have less experience with the other three events, but I know they will be so cool to watch! After two ticket raffles and then some, I am ready to go to the Olympics (and of course I’ll blog the whole time I’m there)!

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