BEIJING — USA archer Vic Wunderle had a request after time had expired on his Olympics.
"Please say hi to all my Aggie friends back home (in Texas)," he said.
He seemed to be soaking everything in as he talked after his match on Friday, like this may be his last Olympics. Beijing had been No. 3 for Wunderle, a Top-8 finisher in Sydney and Athens as well. He has a silver and a bronze for his travels.
"I was hoping to add a gold in Beijing," he said.
And while his gold bid stopped in a 113-106 loss to No. 1-seeded Juan Rene Serrano of Mexico in quarterfinal play, Wunderle counts this as among his best Olympic experiences. He had to defeat the reigning world champion Im Dong-Hyun of Korea to advance.
He did so narrowly, and in dramatic fashion, with a 113-111 victory on Friday morning.
"I knew certainly he had the upper hand but I knew that if I had a good round I could take him," Wunderle said. "It hadn't been my best season this year and I saved my best performance for the Games. I think everybody coming after me in my bracket is very thankful that I opened up the pathway."
And he had a chance to beat Serrano, as well, as they were tied after six arrows.
Olympic archery, for anybody who has never seen it, is a straightforward affair. Both archers have 12 arrows. Whoever scores more points with theirs wins, with point values determined by which circle on the target they hit.
A shot clock also exists, as does halftime.
After halftime, Serrano scored perfect 10s on five of his six arrows, thus ending Wunderle's run.
"We both shot good. He shot better," Wunderle said. "The Olympic Games is about the extraordinary. I had an extraordinary finish on the last match I had of the day. This round Serrano had a good round and I got knocked off."
It is obvious when talking to Wunderle that he has a deep appreciation for the Olympics. He repeatedly called being here and honor and a privilege. He also repeated thanked friends and family and coaches back home for helping him reach Beijing.
He sounded just a little nostalgic as he did.
The young athletes are always talking about what they plan to do four years from now. Wunderle was looking back, talking about what had been. And if Beijing is indeed his final Olympics, Wunderle leaves with two medals and lots of memories.
"I have so many great memories from all of them that it is hard to pick just one," he said, "but beating the reigning world champion is one."