Team USA’s self-titled ‘Armless Archer’ heaps praise on Italian fencer after blazing through to the last eights in the Tokyo heat; stars were filmed alongside other para athletes in the 2020 documentary Rising Phoenix.
Matt Stutzman has lavished praise on Bebe Vio after she singled out the Team USA star as her “Tokyo 2020 idol”.
The 38-year-old spoke to Olympics.com after qualifying for the last eights of the para archery tournament with a 142-139 victory over India’s Shyam Sundar Swami at the Yumenoshima Final Field.
And responding to Bebe Vio’s Instagram post the day before, in which the Rio 2016 gold medallist showed the two friends hugging on stage at a press conference held before the Games got underway, and titled ‘my idol of Tokyo 2020’, an emotional Stutzman said: “This is crazy because she’s my idol.”
“I saw her the other day and every time I see her I have to give her a hug. She has the most addictive personality.
“I wish we lived close together because I would train with her and hang out with her all the time because she’s amazing.”
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Keeping cool in the heat
The combination of heat - which hit over 30 degrees by 10am - and nerves, after his disappointing ninth-placed finish at Rio 2016, could have potentially derailed Stutzman's progression, but the London 2012 silver medallist held his grip to secure a place in the last eights where he will face Slovakia’s Marcel Pavlik.
“I had a little bit of nerves, for sure,” he said. “I mean it’s been a year or more since I’ve started a big tournament [but] it’s starting to come together.
“The wind wasn’t too bad today… but the heat for sure wears you out pretty fast. I’m just trying to stay hydrated a lot. It’s brutal to be honest.”