Favorite to Win Archery Gold Is Legally Blind

Target colors blend together for Im Dong-Hyun

By Liam Carnahan,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 26, 2012 9:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Katniss Everdeen has nothing on this archer: South Korea's Im Dong-Hyun already has two Olympic golds under his belt, and he's been tapped as a favorite to win another in London, despite the fact that he's legally blind, reports the Telegraph. The 26-year-old has 20/200 vision in his right eye, meaning he needs to be 10 times closer to something—say, an archery target—to see it as clearly as someone with perfect vision. His left eye isn't much better at 20/100. But Im isn't too keen on the attention his vision is getting.

"I don't have a stick, I don't have a blind dog," Im said after a recent practice session. "It's unpleasant when people say I'm disabled. All this interest in my sight is not welcome." Im explains that his eyesight makes the colors of the target blend together, but that wearing glasses makes him feel less confident. Instead, he prefers to rely on his senses and ability to spot bright colors when firing his arrows. (Click to read about another Olympic target shooter who's making waves.)

South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun lines up a shot during the men's team competition where he won gold at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010.
South Korean archer Im Dong-hyun lines up a shot during the men's team competition where he won gold at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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