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first_imgFor most Americans, their exposure to archery is limited to the four-year summer Olympic cycles. But on Sept. 10, a team USA and former USC archer dramatically captured a gold medal during the fourth stage of the Archery World Cup in Shanghai, making Joe Fanchin one of the rising stars in the world of archery.On target · Former USC standout Joe Fanchin is preparing for a chance to represent the United States during the 2012 London Olympics. – Photo courtesy of World ArcheryFanchin defeated Malaysian archer Khairul Anuar Mohamad to win the recurve men individual gold medal in a sudden-death shoot off.“He was good, but I could shoot better than him,” Fanchin said. “You can make a couple mistakes, [but] the match isn’t over until it’s all the way over. I still knew that I would shoot well and that I was [going to] win.”Fanchin’s journey, however, began years before his latest performance.Fanchin began practicing archery before he turned 10 years old, as his uncle, Ed Fanchin, was a bow hunter who owned acres of land in the Corona, Calif., area. The young Fanchin learned the sport by shooting a toy bow on his uncle’s property.Fanchin, however, didn’t see archery as anything more than a hobby — at least initially. He primarily shot in recreational competitions in high school. Not until he began looking at colleges did he consider the idea of pursuing archery competitively.“When I was looking at colleges, I did want to join one that had an archery club,” Fanchin said. “I knew once I got [here] USC had one, and I joined up right way. It was really small back then when we shot out at a field archery range in Pasadena.”After Fanchin joined USC in 2006, he surprised himself.  In 2007, the West Regional Collegiate Championships were held at Arizona State. Fanchin was, admittedly, surprised at the results. He won.“No one at our school had ever won something that big,” he said. “I shot pretty good, but I didn’t expect to win at all. It was kind of an eye opener as far as being able to be good at archery and go far with it.”After the tournament, he attended the national championships in Illinois, where he finished fifth overall and earned All-American honors. Following that solid performance, Fanchin began perfecting his archery more during summers. Because he was unable to practice at a traditional archery range, as there were none near his home in Oceanside, Calif., Fanchin set up a target in his garage to build strength and perfect his technique.Throughout his final year at USC, Fanchin competed in different competitions to raise his national ranking to be accepted into the year-round U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., just outside of San Diego.Last month, Fanchin participated in the third stage of the Archery World Cup in Ogden, Utah. Fanchin collected two gold medals and a bronze as a part of Team USA. But Fanchin’s true individual test came in Shanghai.Fanchin went up 2-0 early, but Mohamad fought back to tie it at two apiece. Fanchin then shot strong and moved his advantage to 4-2, but once again, Mohamad shot better and tied the match at 5-5.“I was a little bummed out it didn’t work out quite as well early on, but I was still pretty confident at that point that I would win,” Fanchin said of the late stages in the match.He shot a 10 on his next shot. For Mohamad to win, he would have needed to hit another 10. Mohamad pulled back and fired. His score was a nine.Later this month, Fanchin will be part of the team trying to take home the gold hardware at the World Cup final in Istanbul and he feels like his team’s chances are good.“My teammate Brady [Ellison] won the World Cup Final last year, which was a pretty big step for him and our country,” Fanchin said. “So he will be there as the number one ranked archer; he won the first three World Cups this year. I’m ranked second,  and I’m happy with that seed. I think it will work out well.”Though Fanchin is looking ahead 11 months to archery’s biggest stage, the Olympics, he doesn’t want to stray away from his current goals: performing well at the World Cup Final and Olympic qualifying, which begins a week after the Istanbul tournament.As the No. 6 archer in the world according to Federation Internationale de Tir l’Arc, anything less than winning gold in London next summer will be a disappointment for Fanchin.“The Olympics is really big,” Fanchin said. “I would like to win the Olympics, but right now my focus is on putting together the best archery game I can for every tournament.”last_img