It's been my first Olympics and while I'm disappointed not to get a medal, it's been a fine line all the way.

Let me start by putting straight what I said after I was knocked out of the archery in the last 16 earlier today.

I was cheesed off with my performance and then went straight into interviews. Sometimes you say stuff in the heat of the moment which you otherwise wouldn't.

I always said I wanted to compete in the Olympics and finish with a smile on my face and I didn't do that, but now I've been to the gym for an hour, I've had time to reflect a bit more.

Alan Wills competing in the men's individual event

Our coach Peter Suk has had a lot of time for me and a lot of belief in my ability, although sometimes I want him to be a bit more enthusiastic about me.

But I can't complain about the support he has given us - and it's me standing on the line shooting the arrows. We'll have a review in the weeks after the Olympics, but this has been one huge learning curve for us all.

There's been a few ups and downs for me personally from the opening qualifying for the team event to beating the Athens Olympic champion in the individual event.

I started off well in the team competition last weekend but one bad dozen on the fourth end left me in 21st place, but it was my best score of the season so far so I was happy with my performance.

There was a tricky crosswind which was difficult to read making things even harder, but to give you some idea of the level of competition, my score was one point better than I shot in my last World Cup meet in France when I placed 12th.

A day of chilling out followed before the elimination rounds started and we lost 214-210 to China.

It was a disappointing finish, but the team has not shot together too many times this year and after a good year last year, there was a lot of expectation on us.

It was a good opportunity for us but it's a fine line between hitting the gold and slipping into the red.

I had a strange interlude when I went down to cheer on the British women in the individual event. Charlotte Burgess and Naomi Folkard met in the round of 32 and an extra coach was needed to offer moral support and sort out their arrows.

I was asked to help Charlotte out and although I've never done anything like it before, I did so.

Charlotte didn't shoot that well, but it was up to me to try and lift her spirits, as Naomi started to pull away.

Before the last end I just told her to shoot like they were the last arrows she was ever going to shoot in her life - it was a great privilege to be in that position and good experience.

It was then time to focus on my individual event on Wednesday - I only scored 103, but beat Italy's Mauro Nespoli in the first elimination round.

My score was not as good as team-mates Larry Godfrey and Simon Terry, but they both went out.

I wanted to do better in the next round, not just for myself, but for the whole team.

I faced the reigning Olympic champion Marco Galliazo, also from Italy in the next round and I put in a great performance, but I still needed a 10 from my final arrow to progress.

The adrenaline was really pumping and I just told myself that there was nowhere else the arrow was going, but in the centre gold.

I knew pretty much as soon as it left the bow that it was on target, but it was still a relief to see it go in and I won 110-109.

It was a brilliant feeling to beat the Italian and he told me that I had better go on and win the tournament now.

But then the day was over and I had a day off before going back for the last 16 round.

I was getting into a good rhythm on the Wednesday and I reckon I would have gone much further if the competition had continued.

That's not the way it works though and I had to come back today where I lost my first match against a Cuban 108-104.

It was hugely disappointing, but you win some and you lose some and I'm 95% sure I'll be back for London 2012.

First up though is to enjoy the rest of the Olympics, then it's home for a review with the archery team and then I plan to take a bit of break from the recurve and go back to the field archery and take part in the World Games next year.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks, though, to let you know about the rest of my Olympics experience and more on the future.

Alan Wills was talking to BBC Sport's Peter Scrivener.

Alan Wills, 27, from Cumbria, is one of Great Britain's leading male archers and is competing in his first Olympic Games in Beijing. His previous diary entries are on 606. Our FAQs should answer any questions you have.


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  • 1. At 2:33pm on 15 Aug 2008, Rob Olivier wrote:

    Alan, you accounted yourself well. Hope to see you getting Gold at the Oval for the London Olympics. I think the UK can do massively in this sport if people can stay together, lick their wounds and come back stronger.

    4 points is nothing and it could have easily gone your way.

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  • 2. At 2:42pm on 15 Aug 2008, DHesketh wrote:


    When I was a kid I used to watch Errol Flynn fight Basil Rathbone in Robin Hood. Then there was Walt Disney and more recently Kevin Costner.

    It was one of my boyhood dreams to be able to shoot a bow like that. It was just the coolest thing ever.

    Therefore, regardless of whether you lost by a paltry 4 points or not, as far as I'm concerned mate, you're an absolute legend.

    Good luck for 2012.

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  • 3. At 5:16pm on 15 Aug 2008, SmellsLikeTeaSplint wrote:

    Maybe someone can help me here. The bow used in the olympics is so futuristic, it seems to me that technology has totally taken over the event.

    Let me explain. The bows used at the start of the modern olympics would bear nothing in common with those used today. I think it's a bit of a shame. Yes, you can argue that it's a level playing field, but I think we're missing a chance here.

    If swimmers can get loads and loads of events for doing much the same thing, why can't we have additional archery events using historically accurate equipment?

    Just think of it. You could have a longbow event, a composite bow event, a crossbow event. All using an agreed historical design. Not only would archery become (for me, at least!) a lot more interesting, we would be investing in keeping certain skills alive. Skills that bit by but are becoming rarer.

    For comparison; check out fencing. Ideas?

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  • 4. At 5:41pm on 15 Aug 2008, mrmusic99 wrote:

    Sore loser! You didn't even have the courtsey to name the 'Cuban' you lost against... Very poor show!

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  • 5. At 6:01pm on 15 Aug 2008, Peter Scrivener - BBC Sport wrote:

    mrmusic99 - unfair to have a go at Alan - I am responsible for not adding the Cuban's name to the piece - it was Juan Carlos Stevens.

    I hope you'll forgive me.

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  • 6. At 6:59pm on 15 Aug 2008, FixedGuru wrote:

    I think you will find that archery events using traditional bows already exist and have world championships and records. It is just they are not included in the Olympics and hence rarely in other main international competitions. Oh and in England you are legally exempt from prosecution if you accidently kill someone whilst practising, mind you all adult males are all still legally required to practice with our longbows.

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  • 7. At 7:07pm on 15 Aug 2008, Crowperson wrote:

    Alan, thanks to you and your team, not to mention Suk, you might now have another contender on your hands. After nearly thirty years of trying to get engaged in sport and failing dismally (always relegated to goalie in school hockey and finding any excuse to get out of rounders and swimming) you have won me over to archery which seems a sport anyone can try and do well at rather than something you have to have been born with rippling muscles for. It's a shame that my local archery club have already had their summer course for beginners, but I really want to have a go. As a financial and political analyst I have a keen eye for figures, maybe that same good eyesight could help me shoot a 10 sometime in the future!

    It would also explain why as a child I watched Robin Hood until I broke the video and used to pretend to have a bow and arrow in my hands ready to fire it.

    In the meantime, the best of luck in future competitions to you, Peter, Folkard, Burgess, Williamson and the rest of the team. We may not be able to beat the South Koreans or Chinese this time round, but hopefully we can only get better and better in time for London.

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  • 8. At 9:06pm on 15 Aug 2008, Brucebleo wrote:

    I would first of all like to congratulate the GB boys and girls who made it to the olympics this year as I know the scores needed to be achieved in the Fita Olympic round are incredibly high and to hear people being negative about team GB not getting any medals this year is just shocking to be honest, expecially so as they are all under intense pressure from the big wigs to do well or funds will be cut etc etc. Secondly did anyone actually watch the rounds as I did and i'm not surprised we had a struggle considering the incredible performances of the other teams such as China, Korea and the Ukraine (I loved the Ukrainians method of anchoring, very unique!!)
    So as far I could see we may not have done as well as we would have liked but the fact that we didn't come last was something to be cheerfull about. As for anyone who may think that Alan was a bit grumpy would too as untill you have been on the line after loosing arrow after arrow at a distance of 70 metres and a draw weight in excess of 30 lbs at a target that when seen from the line looks like a tiny penny sized gold dot!! yes they are olympians but don't forget that for a few of them it was their first olympics and lets face it the crowd were in my eyes shocking with all sorts of shouts and whistles etc while the archers were in the equivalent of a golfing backswing! offputting to any archer from the uk considering GNAS/FITA judges here would remove anyone from the crowds here that would try the same thing in fact i was a bit put off myself when the koreans and chinese archers themselves would squawk whilst on the line themselves.
    Anyway good luck in the field archery and don't give up on 2012 Alan!
    Don't forget we have the paralympic archery team still who always seem to win us some medals I know Kathy Smith is a great archer and have been in competitions and practice with her so I know she will do brilliantly for us all

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  • 9. At 9:12pm on 15 Aug 2008, Brucebleo wrote:

    Oh and p.s. The Great John Greaves of Windsor Forest Bowmen once said of my rookie mistake of using the term firing an arrow, 'There is no combustion in archery!' so please refer to his wisdom and use the term shoot or loose!! :) and I'm done!!

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  • 10. At 07:48am on 16 Aug 2008, livingandnative wrote:

    The medal expactions have been too high. Having observed the internatioanl competitions archery has had a random count of successes. Especially, it is very difficult for the men to be consistant in winning year after year. The British team has improved a lot over the past years. This we shall not forget whilst other former strong nations had to see a downturn. I hope that the pressure to perform in order to keep funding is stopped as particular those sports which are weak at the moment need the best support to establish future success. Also the wheather conditions were not alwasy the best. The rain was quite heavy at some stages. Whilst other competitions were abondoned, the archers had to continue shooting. Thanks to Alison, Charlotte, Nim Nom, Alan, Larry and Terry. I hope Sarah, Tom and Ed have learned a lot to brighten up achery's future.

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  • 11. At 09:03am on 16 Aug 2008, plasgeler wrote:

    I heard the Koreans built a replica of the archery venue so that their archers could get prior experience!

    For all of us shooting at club level at leisure centres and hidden fields up and down the country once or twice a week - you are the pinnacle of our sport and we admire and support you and the GB archers all the way. The training, technique, mental and physical stamina required for this sport are hugely underestimated by those have never drawn a bow.

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  • 12. At 01:30am on 17 Aug 2008, mrmusic99 wrote:

    Duly forgiven Mr Schriver and my apologies to Alan Wills.

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  • 13. At 9:28pm on 17 Aug 2008, BeiterBabe wrote:

    Alan, in this country we have the right to say how we feel. At least you had the guts to say what others are thinking. Well done! Keep shooting those arrows and be yourself.

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  • 14. At 5:02pm on 08 Sep 2008, fastBarbi wrote:

    Tough luck Alan, I'm quite sure you did your best, and remember that winning is not everything. I shoot myself, and should be VERY proud to be selected for the Olympics!

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