Good Sports: Elite archer heading for Paralympics
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As the London Olympics wind down, one South Valley elite athlete is stepping up his preparations for next month's Paralympics in London.
If there's one thing Lemoore's Jeff Fabry can't stand, it's attention.
"I don't want to be 'oh you better go like this guy because of what he does.' That's not me. It might take me a little longer to do something but I'm going to get it done, so no sympathy. Don't really need it," Fabry said.
Forget sympathy - his ability to shoot an arrow and hit the bulls eye from 40 meters away is amazing.
"Honestly, this disabled deal I do - I didn't want to do it originally. My wife kinda slapped me across the head and said 'you're disabled. You can go play with them guys'," Fabry said.
The 39-year-old Fabry lost most of his right arm and right leg in a motorcycle accident when he was 15.
"Some people thought I had a bad attitude. But it wasn't having a bad attitude. It was 'leave me the hell alone. I'm going to do what I want to do. And don't tell me I can't do something'," Fabry said.
But when he picked up a bow and shot an arrow at a target some 13 years ago Fabry was immediately hooked.
"The material I used was blue jeans. Cut it off, tied it around the string, bit on it, and said 'oh heck yeah! We're going now!" he said.
Armed with a concrete routine, precision aim and unrivaled determination, Fabry is a world class archer.
The father of two is a three-time Paralympics bronze medalist, two in Athens in 2004, one in the 2008 Beijing games and he says he's focused on winning gold in London next month.
"This time it's going to be different. I'm going to go in, I'm not going to play it safe, just go in headstrong and be aggressive, and get to that gold medal match and win it. Every time I've lost it just makes me that much hungrier," Fabry said.
And begrudgingly Fabry is warming up to the idea of becoming a role model even an inspiration to other athletes facing adversity.
"Able bodied people will tell me 'hey I've been down and just think of you and it brings me back up.' so that's kind of cool," Fabry said.
And he has advice for anyone facing the long road to elite status like he did some 25 years ago.
"Open the door. Don't close the door on no one. Keep the door open. See what possibilities are floating around because you're going to find your niche. But if you don't go out looking for it, you're never going to find it," Fabry said.
lemoore, kings county, sports, david bataller
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