Closing Out a Chapter
Closing Out a Chapter

Closing Out a Chapter

With the start of stage three of Olympic trials beginning tomorrow (a full 20 months after stage two!), I feel like it’s time to answer your questions. While I don’t think I “owe” anyone answers, I have attempted to always be open and honest with all of you about my highlights and struggles. So, while it’s tough for me to publicly share this, I would feel like I was hiding a big piece of my journey from you if I didn’t.

As many of you have figured out by now, no, I will not be competing tomorrow in the trials. I waited as long as possible, hoping that circumstances would “magically” change, but ultimately was forced to withdraw from the trials. I’ve heard some assumptions about why I withdrew (or some thinking I hadn’t even made the cut), but unless you’ve actually spoken with me, I highly doubt you know the complete story. I’ll also say that I am more than happy to talk to any of you about this in more detail, but here is the Cliff Notes version…

To be completely honest, there really wasn’t much of a “decision,” as there were so many factors out of my hands. The delay of the Olympics by a year was just the start, but there were numerous pieces (state restrictions, financial commitments, career opportunities, unexpected life changes, family events, etc.) that ultimately left me with no option except withdrawal.

I know some people will never understand and probably judge me for this, but at the end of the day my family and friends come first. I am someone who works very hard to always stand by the commitments I make. I’ve learned how important that S is when making SMART goals…I had always said I was committed to recurve through the Tokyo Olympics, but I guess I should have been more SPECIFIC and said through July of 2020. ????

So, what now? I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely leave the sport of archery. It’s become as much a part of me as I feel like swimming (my first love) will always be. Anyone who knows me at least a little bit probably also knows how incredibly competitive I am. So yes, I won’t be able to stay away from competitions forever. However, I can’t commit to much more than that at this time. While I’d love to make international teams again and compete regularly against the best from around the world, that’s just not likely in the cards. I am thankful archery truly is a lifelong sport, and I hope to make events like Vegas part of my schedule every year.

I want to wish the archers competing in trials tomorrow the best of luck. I will be following along and hope that each of you finishes feeling like you gave it your best, regardless of the outcome. I’ll be cheering loudly at my computer/tv in June (as both our men and women try to earn full team spots in Paris), and again in July (when those Olympic medals are up for grabs).

And finally, I want to thank everyone who helped me over the past four years as I chased this dream. I wish there was a way to thank you all individually, but I was fortunate and had hundreds of you who directly impacted my journey. From the sponsors who DID continue to support me, to the individuals that gave me coaching of any kind, to those who taught me the secrets to tuning a recurve, to my teammates who pushed me to be my best, to the international shooters who trusted me to be their athlete representative with World Archery, to the fans who cheered for me, to those who made me feel like I belonged on the recurve side of the field on days when I felt like merely a guest, to those who purchased bracelets and arrow pullers and various other items to help me fund multiple World Championship and World Cup trips, to my friends who put up with my frustrations, to my family who never questioned my crazy ideas to challenge myself, and finally to my husband who sacrificed more than I’ll ever truly realize – each and every one of you allowed me to surpass any expectations I had going in on what I could achieve.

And with that, let me just say thanks for reading!


  1. Diana W

    Crystal, you are an inspiration to me and my daughter and so many others. You definitely owe no justification for your decision to anyone not involved in the process and even then maybe not all of them. I appreciate that you have shared what you have solely because too often “finish what you start” becomes a higher priority than “evaluate the costs and benefits to yourself and to those around you and decide wisely.” You clearly are exercising careful deliberation and wisdom. Not continuing is not quitting, but too many people just see the score and assume they know the process that lead up to it.

    And I love my bracelet. ????

    1. Crystal

      Thanks Rob! That really means a lot coming from you. And don’t worry, I may not be shooting a recurve anytime soon, but I’m definitely not done with the sport. LAS isn’t as close anymore, but I still hope to make your event each January!

  2. Terry and Jeanne Wunderle

    Crystal, you have been an inspiration! We know the next chapters of your life will continue to reflect the wonderful person that you are. God bless you on your journey!

  3. Bruce Dickson

    All I can think of to say is Wow.What kind of person you must be to put others and responsibilities ahead of a personal goal that has had so much work and passion invested. Please please do not fade from the Archery scene we all admire and respect you and need your experience and expertise. This is were you belong here with us.

  4. Benjamin Summers

    Thanks for all the positivity you bring to archery! Don’t ever let that stop! I look forward to seeing you again at the next national tournament, like Vegas or the Lancaster Classic. Until then, may everything you touch turn to gold!!!

  5. Fiona McClean

    So sad to see you close this chapter with not being able to see it through to the actual end, but I support your decision to do what is best for you at this time. I understand the sacrifices that have to be made to get to where you were, and know all too well how hard it is to be put in a holding pattern until you are able to complete the task.
    I am excited to see what you do next, and hope to one day stand on the competition line with you again in whichever discipline you choose (compound being my obvious choice) 🙂

  6. Peter Jukoski

    Crystal, I hope to see you at some shoots in New Hampshire this year . You are always welcome at Pioneer Sportsmen Inc. And Pioneer JOAD if you ever want to make a guest appearance!
    Thanks for your advice in the past and the stabilizers are great.
    Take care.

    1. Crystal

      That’s definitely my plan! It’s a bit of a drive, but definitely hoping to make it down to a few of the shoots. I need somewhere to “practice” competing with wheels again 😉

  7. Suzanne Schlief

    What Diana W said above. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. In the dictionary a picture of you should be next to the words “professional athlete”. Your heart may be breaking as you have a true competitors spirt and having to step away from something you love must be difficult. Just know, my daughter and I (both huge fans) would never judge or assume anything other than you made a careful, well thought decision about what is best for you. And we stand with you.. Also too many times in this world,, your life and your decisions are your alone and nobody’s business but you. With that, thank you for taking us along on your journey, seeing the accomplishments as well as the struggles. Sometimes saying “no” is the hardest thing in the world, not wanting to “seem” like you are letting someone down, but it’s the healthiest for you and truly shows the strength you have. Maddie has had to stop shooting while in college but knows one day the sport she loves will be there when she is ready to return. We hope the same for you and hope to meet again in Vegas.

    1. Crystal

      Wow Suzanne, you are making me cry! I can’t express how much your words mean to me. Nothing about this has been easy, but comments like yours definitely help ease the pain, so thank you!

  8. Jim White

    Although our time together in training was short, I was impressed how quickly you adapted to the recurve. It shows that you are a true athlete and one hell of a competitor. I wish you the best and am here to help you in any way I can. Hope to see you at the Vegas shoot sometime. Keep the passion!

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