Armless archer prepares for 2016 Paralympic Games - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Armless archer prepares for 2016 Paralympic Games

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Ryan Stutzman earned a silver medal in London in 2012. (Source: KCCI/CNN) Ryan Stutzman earned a silver medal in London in 2012. (Source: KCCI/CNN)
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FAIRFIELD, IA (KCCI/CNN) A couple miles outside Fairfield, you'll find precision and a man who found his sweet spot along a gravel road.

"If it wasn't for this place that I can shoot here in the yard, I wouldn't be as good as I am now," said Matt Stutzman.

Stutzman has been shocking people since the day he was born - without arms.

But even those who knew him well couldn't believe the sport he just picked up a few years earned him a silver medal at London's 2012 Paralympic games.

Although he's not satisfied with the silver Medal.

"Silver is the medal you have to lose to win."

It's been bugging him since the day he got back to Fairfield.

"Half the town showed up to cheer me on, and I got a police escort," he said. "The second I got home I sat down with my wife and said, 'What do we need to do to make sure I'm successful in Rio?'"

First, he hired a coach.

"Of course, that's hard to do because I'm the only one that does this!"

But it's working. Stutzman just took on 1,800 of the world's best archers with arms and finished fifth.

"They are starting to respect me not necessarily as someone with a disability, but I'm just...I'm an archer to them," he said.

Second, he picked up more sponsors, ones not just after the novelty of a guy who drives a truck one-footed, but companies who'd support his family of five and believe in him.

But this third life change is unfolding this week.

"Yeah, that's a tough decision. We've talked about it for a long time."

Packing up moving boxes is always hard, even for folks with hands.

"I had the strength to pick them up, but there's nowhere for me to grab them," Stutzman said.

He has plenty of help, but what's really difficult is leaving.

"My family lives in Iowa. My wife's family all lives in Iowa. This is my home," he said. "But in order to be the best, sometimes you have to train."

This perfectionist chose the country's best facility outside Salt Lake City.

"So the next year and a half for me is sitting behind a bow and arrow for hours and hours and hours," Stutzman said.

Every day that gold medal and what it stands for will be in his sights.

"Ultimately I just want to prove to the world that I'm just kind of normal, that I'm just doing my thing. I have no arms, yes, but I'm blessed with the opportunity to compete with the best," he said.

Chasing his dreams even if that means a detour for a while beyond our borders.

"Most athletes have a shelf life, and I don't know how long my shelf life is. So I want to grab this opportunity, take it, run with it; then I can come back home to Iowa," Stutzman said.

He has lots of time to practice - the Rio Paralympic games will be held in September 2016.

Copyright 2014 KCCI via CNN. All rights reserved.

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