American Paralympian Matt Stutzman won the silver medal in archery this week, a feat he accomplished despite being born without arms. In the men’s compound open final, he was narrowly beaten by Finland’s Jere Forsberg, who has the use of both arms.
In the gold medal match, Forsberg fired a perfect 10 on his final arrow to avoid a shoot-off with Stutzman.
The Paralympics have helped Stutzman, who is from Fairfield, Iowa, become something of a celebrity, thanks to his competitive spirit and his refusal to let his talents go to waste.
And despite many reports to the contrary, Stutzman tells All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block, “I actually don’t use my teeth at all.” Instead, he uses his mouth only to guide the release onto the string.
Like many of his wheelchair-using rivals, Stutzman shoots from a seated position. He uses his left foot to put the arrow in place, then he pushes the compound bow away with his right foot and pulls the arrow back with a release aid that’s strapped to his body.
“There is a gentleman on the team, he actually bites onto the bow string and pulls back with his teeth to shoot the bow,” Stutzman says. “And I like my teeth a lot. So that’s why I came up with the idea of using a release.”
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