If you’ve met Jake Kaminski, you know he’s an intense competitor, a Rio 2016 hopeful who’s smart and unafraid to say what’s on his mind. His blunt, direct approach is even tattooed below his sleeves. Literally. The ink on his left hand reads: “I Am.”
Kaminski started out in youth archery leagues near Buffalo in his native Elma, New York. With support from his mother – who raised money for his tournaments with tips at her bakery – he pushed to the top of the national rankings. An invitation to the Resident Athlete Program at the U.S. Olympic Training Center launched Kaminski’s rising star.
Fast forward through six years of training, and Kaminski’s moment to shine arrived in 2012. Together with teammates and friends Jacob Wukie and Brady Ellison, Kaminski stepped onto the field at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. That’s where this “band of brothers” defeated powerhouse South Korea in the Olympic semifinals, and took home a hard-fought silver medal.
“The most important thing I learned is that there is no replacement for strong preparation,” Kaminski told Archery 360. “Our biggest advantage was our prep as a team and it showed.”
In the years since, Kaminski has quietly trained in Florida, developed an archery app, and focused on returning to the Olympic stage, this time at Rio 2016. He currently holds the fifth spot in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials with two more events to go. He knows it’s anyone’s game, but he’s all fight as he prepares for a high-pressure 2016 season, which he hopes culminates in a shot at the Rio podium.
For Kaminski, the Road to Rio 2016 is all about planning – and feedback: “My primary focus is building the most solid training plan possible and sticking to it, but listening to physical and mental cues if I need to make adjustments to the plan. That includes increasing the training load as well as reducing it.”
Check out this awesome video about Kaminski and his rise to Olympic stardom: