Homecoming for Local Olympic Archer | News
CHEEKTOWAGA, NY- We're all getting excited for the 2012 Olympic Games in London that kick off later this month. Even more excited is the family of local archer, Jake Kaminski, who made the US Olympic Team.
With stars and stripes and signs, the family gathered at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport Thursday night to welcome the 24-year-old home for a few days before he heads back to the Olympic Training Center in California, and then to London in the middle of this month.
He's home in Elma to be honored for qualifying for the Olympics - it will be "Jake Kaminski Day" - and he's making a donation of $18,000 in Archery equipment that he's picked up from sponsors to Leo's Archery program in West Falls where that's where he got his start.
The former Iroquois High school student has lived at the Olympic Training Center for the past 6 years. His mother Suzanne Linde knew he had something special.
"He started out with a compound bow and then he came to me after two years and said mom I'm going to be in the Olympics and I need a recurve bow and at that time we didn't have the money to buy the bow and someone lent it to him. He would go from being a really goofy, normal kid, and as soon as he picked up that bow, he would like focus it was like zen for him," said Linde.
Linde knew, for her son's dreams to come true, she had to let him go.
"It's been really hard. I haven't seen him for 11 months. He's been so busy I barely get a chance to talk to him. It's a good thing for text messaging because if I send a text I get an answer right away."
"I've always felt the support, and I've always appreciated it and couldn't do it without it," said Kaminski.
And when Kaminski takes aim for gold in London his mom will be there as his biggest cheerleader. But she's worried she might throw off his game!
"Jake and I have such a really deep spiritual connection that if I throw out too much energy to him I affect it. He says it doesn't affect him but I know it does. So I have to really pull my energy in and just trust that he's going to come home with that gold medal," said Linde.
But Jake said he's not worried about his mom affecting his game.
"No, not really there's so many events. So many different things can happen at the right or the wrong time. So stuff happens."
Team USA is #1 in the world for archery and the favorite for the gold. The 24-year-old is also competing individually.
"Luck just plays a lot into that, so you've got to shoot the best that you can and enjoy the experience," Kaminski said.
And what an experience it is. He's now signing autographs and is being followed around by a production crew for his endorsement with Kellogg's.
"He has a golden heart. And he is looking to take this sport to another level and he wants to inspire the youth," said Jake's sister, Elizabeth Diamond.
"It's been a really long road. So if I fast forwarded from then to now I would've never believed it. But because of all the hard work and all the sacrifices that me and my family and everybody has made it's definitely worthwhile. I'm excited and very happy to finally have this opportunity."
And Kaminski will be thinking of home when he's across the pond.
"I've always felt the support, and I've always appreciated it and couldn't do it without it. Of course I'm doing it for myself, but it's always great to know that I'm doing it for my family and doing it for my family and my hometown."