Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 29, 2023

Andrew Park is going all in, his sights set on the 2024 Paris Olympics for archery

By CYNTHIA HU | April 6, 2023

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COURTESY OF ANDREW PARK

Junior Andrew Park aspires to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics, planning on taking a year off of academics to train for a shot on the world’s biggest athletic stage.

Nobody can argue that Hopkins isn’t a prestigious school. Its students come from many walks of life, each with their own unique backgrounds, experiences and stories. Though they are all brilliant and accomplished, only one can say that they’re on the path to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Junior Andrew Park, an Economics major with Writing Seminars and Business minors, is nearing his 10th year of archery. At the age of 12, he picked up the bow and arrows with the encouragement of an upperclassman, thinking it would be a good opportunity to get out of school. Turns out he had a natural gift and knack for the sport, garnering many accolades including a gold medal at the 2017 World Archery Youth Championships.

Now, Park has his eyes set on a bigger prize, a spot on the U.S. Olympic Archery team. While this might seem like a daunting task, he is not new to the idea of competing on the biggest athletic stage. Park previously competed for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team but barely missed the cut sitting at fifth place, as the first three finishers made the team and the fourth became an alternate.

As a freshman, Park was set on continuing both his athletic and academic careers. However, coming in during COVID-19 was difficult as he was a full-time resident athlete at the Olympic center and had to take Zoom classes with a three-hour time difference. During his sophomore and junior years, due to limited transportation and facility availability, Park sometimes resorted to shooting in the only place he could — the dorms at the Homewood Apartments or his apartment at The Academy. 

Now that things have opened up and are back in person, it’s clear that Park has thought carefully about how to maximize his time. This semester, he strategically placed all his classes between Monday and Thursday. On Fridays, his coach picks him up from campus and drives him down to their training facility in Fairfax, Virginia, where he spends the weekend practicing. Though this schedule may appear incredibly difficult to manage, Park looks on the bright side and attributes his work ethic and time management abilities to his regimen.

He described his attitude toward the idea of the Olympics and how he plans to utilize the next year of training.

“I want to have no regrets,” he said. “Of course, if I make the Olympics, it’s great stuff, but even if it doesn’t happen, I’m going to look back at this one-year period and smile at all the difficulties and struggles that I went through.”

Having previously competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Team Trials, Park knew that he would have to focus all of his time and energy on preparations. After completing his junior year, Park will be taking a year off to train. A typical week would include 50 hours of intensive training, shooting an average of 700 arrows each day and completing his coach’s strength program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

The first round of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials occurs in September 2023, starting with 64 male and 64 female athletes. As the months progress, more cuts will be made until the only ones left are the top three. Citing it as a big test of endurance, Park’s goal is to get back into his prime shape from when he competed in 2020–2021.

The next year is filled with massive change and uncertainty. Getting to showcase one’s skills and talents at the Olympic level is an incredible honor, but the competition for this chance is very stiff. 

When asked to describe his feelings on the upcoming journey, Park simply responded with a poem. “Roll the Dice” by Charles Bukowski — a poem that he’s kept with him during his tournaments. It holds special meaning to him and provides a motto he strives to live by.

“If you start something, make sure to give it your all or don’t even try,” he said. 


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