Kevin Mather’s Gold Medal Highlights USA Performance in Paralympic Archery in Tokyo

Kevin Mather poses with his gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on September 3, 2021 in Tokyo.

Kevin Mather has always been a multi-sport athlete in more ways than one, from competing as an able-bodied and adaptive athlete, from Ironman triathlons to World Para-Alpine Skiing Championships.

He leaves Tokyo as a champion of another sport: archery.

The 38-year-old from Santa Clarita, Calif., won gold in the W2 men’s individual recurve and the only U.S. archery team medal in Tokyo.

It was his Paralympic debut.

“It’s heavy right now. It’s amazing,” Mather said after securing the medal. “It’s the first time I’ve seen one of these Games up close. I’m just blown away.

Mather competed at the Paralympic Games ranked 10th in the world, but it’s not the first time he’s performed well in his debut. His first archery event was the 2017 World Archery Championships and he won silver in the team event.

Mather beat China’s Lixue Zhao in the final event, 6-4. Mather is the first American athlete to medal in the individual recurve since Lindsey Carmichael won bronze in 2008.

Although Mather was the only medalist, Lia Coryell was so close in the women’s W1 competition. The 56-year-old from La Crosse, Wis., qualified for the bronze medal game and finished fourth in her division at her second Paralympic Games.

“I reached the bronze medal game! she said on Instagram. “Won 2/3 of my playoff games and I’m proud of my achievement. My arrow average and match averages have gone up for the new PB. Glad I got to wear that uniform with the American flag and my name on it. Leaving to return to the United States tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who supports me!”

Matt Stutzman, Andre Shelby and KJ Polish all competed in the men’s compound division but exited in the elimination rounds before having a chance to compete for medals. Bennett joined Mather in the recurve competition and was also eliminated in the elimination round, as was 21-year-old Emma Rose Ravish, who made her Paralympic debut in women’s recurve. Ravish and Bennett also competed in the first ever mixed team recurve event at the Paralympic Games and finished ninth.

“I had a blast shooting with @ebarchery today for the first mixed team event at the Paralympic Games!” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s the best I’ve shot in a match and I’m happy with the performance! Another post coming soon, as the #tokyoparalympics come to an end.

Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games? Visit TeamUSA.org/Tokyo-2020-Paralympic-Games to view the medal table and results.

Earnest A. Martinez