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Lin Shih-Chia: The Olympic star who learned her sport using a giant elastic band

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This interview is part of an exclusive Yahoo series called 'How To Raise An Olympian', in which we speak to Olympic stars and their parents to get a unique insight into what it takes to raise an elite athlete. Watch the full interview above - and for more see the links at the bottom of the page.

[Please press the Closed Caption 'CC' button on the video above for English subtitles]

Sometimes words aren't needed to express what the heart feels. 

Lin Shih-Chia is an Olympic bronze-medal winning archer from Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). She was born into a traditional family in the city of Hsinchu, and her father remembers watching her unusual training regime when she was very young.

“Coach Ni recruited her for practice in primary school," Lin Wen-Chin says. 

"I objected to the idea at first because they started from scratch. There was nothing in the archery field. We kept seeing her stretch the rubber band, but we had no idea what she was doing at that time.”

He says he could not understand archery as a sport at first, until his daughter gradually accomplished more and more and started winning events overseas. 

But though her parents' support was never showy, their daughter could always rely on their silent, but steely, backing.

“The point is that this is her choice, so we have to support her,” her father says.

At the beginning of her archery training, under the guidance of Coach Ni Ta-Chih, Lin Shih-Chia used a rubber band to simulate pulling a bow. (Lin Shih-Chia)
At the beginning of her archery training, under the guidance of Coach Ni Ta-Chih, Lin Shih-Chia used a rubber band to simulate pulling a bow. (Lin Shih-Chia)

Born in 1993, Lin Shih-Chia studied in Hsinchu Fuli Junior High School. The September winds are extremely strong in Hsinchu, earning it the nickname of the “Windy City” – and they also create a natural training environment.

“My dad and I had a bunch of arguments because I didn’t get good results in my exams," Lin said. 

"Dad wanted me to quit the archery team, but I still tried really hard to tell him that I wanted to do my best in archery. There were highs and lows during the journey, but I also told myself: ‘If I stick with it, I’ll get to find the parts that I enjoy.’" 

Lin’s perseverance influenced those around her and coach Ni Ta-Chih’s professionalism and commitment made her family feel more at ease.

She made headway in school competitions and in 2015 represented Chinese Taipei in the Summer Universiade held in Gwangju, South Korea, along with Tan Ya-Ting and Hsiung Mei-Chien in the women’s team event. 

For the first time in their country's archery history, the team defeated the world champions, South Korea, and won the gold medal. In the same year, Lin also took home a silver medal in the individual event at the World Archery Championships in Copenhagen. At that time, this was the best result ever achieved by an athlete from Chinese Taipei. 

Bronze medallists Le Chien-Ying, Lin Shih-Chia and Tan Ya-Ting at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. (Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images)
Bronze medallists Le Chien-Ying, Lin Shih-Chia and Tan Ya-Ting at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. (Valery Sharifulin/TASS via Getty Images)

Then came the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“Was I nervous at the Olympics?" she says. "A little bit, because you need to be very focused in this sport. 

"Stepping on to the field, I felt that there was only one target lane and that the coach there was guiding me. I’ve also already participated in a few international games, so I was pretty familiar with what’s in store for me.”

In Rio, Lin treated the iconic competition as “just another game” and ultimately won the bronze medal along with her teammates Lei Chien-Ying and Tan Ya-Ting.

Back at home, her father was calm.

Lin Wen-Chin had stayed up late on the other side of the world to cheer on his daughter. “You’ve already reached the most prestigious event, anyway," he says. "Getting on the podium is not the priority.

“So when I watched the Games, I felt relaxed and wasn’t nervous. We were already satisfied that she had come this far.”

Lin Shih-Chia at the 2016 Olympics Welcome Home dinner with her parents. (Lin Shih-Chia)
Lin Shih-Chia at the 2016 Olympics Welcome Home dinner with her parents. (Lin Shih-Chia)

Lin Shih-Chia felt that although her family members always kept a low profile, they played the greatest support role. 

At the celebration party upon her return to Chinese Taipei, her parents attended an archery-related event for the first time. 

She says: “The word ‘silence’ is very significant. It’s difficult to explain the meaning of this process. 

"Like my father, he’s blunt but with a soft heart. He won’t reject your idea and if you really need help, he’ll certainly lend a hand. 

Lin Shih-Chia
Lin Shih-Chia

"They don’t want to seek the limelight and take credit. They won’t interfere much and will keep it inside them.”

After embarking on a teaching career, Lin realised and understood more about her family’s views in the past. 

She wants to help younger people pursue their dreams: “Give it a try and don’t have any regrets, because this is something you love and a path that you choose, so go after it with courage.”

Read more 'How To Raise An Olympian"

Mark Hunter: 'I watched my dad nearly die from a heart attack. 11 years later we won Olympic gold'

Joseph Schooling: The boy who beat his Olympic idol Michael Phelps

Janne Müller-Wieland: Devastated Olympic athlete axed weeks before the start of the Games

Annia Hatch: The extraordinary gymnast who defied a president to achieve Olympic glory

Elodie Clouvel: Olympic star hopes her 17-year journey will end in gold

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