The Heart of Sports

The Heart of Sports

Interviews With Paralympian and Armless Archer Matt Stutzman, Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin, and Author Steven G. Mandis Download

00:56 Download May 21st, 2021

Jason and Jeff interview Matt Stutzman, Jim Curtin and Steven G. Mandis.

While others may be in awe watching the USA’s Matt Stutzman shoot a bow and arrow, or even drive a car, with his feet, Stutzman finds it no different. The Armless Archer has been redefining norms since he was born. He jumped into the international spotlight taking silver at the London 2012 Paralympics. The spotlight got brighter as he starred in the Netflix documentary ‘Rising Phoenix’ released on August 2020.

Heading into his third Paralympic Games at Tokyo 2020, the father of three is hoping to move one step up from the silver result he got in the men’s individual compound at the 2012 Paralympics. He won silver at the 2015 Para Pan American Games, then went on to win a team gold medal at the 2015 World Archery Para Championships later that month.

On 9 December 2015, just one day before his 33rd birthday, Stutzman hit a target from 310 yards, breaking the longest Guinness-ratified distance by any athlete or individual in the world. He also clinched bronze at the 2019 World Archery Para Championships, among other honours.

But his results at the Rio 2016 Paralympics is what stings; he fell one point short of making it out of the elimination round of the men’s individual compound open.

It was at those Games where the hype was high. He was named as one of BP Team USA athlete ambassadors for Rio 2016, and became one of the world’s biggest inspirations, as photos of him shooting a bow and arrow without arms were some of the most iconic of the Games.

Born without arms and adopted at four months old, Stutzman grew up in a family of hunters in Iowa, and he had always wanted to be like his father and brother.

“They couldn’t hit nothing,” Stutzman said. “But when you’re little, you want to act like your dad or mimic what he does, so he helped me purchase my first bow. I was 16 at the time.”

That bow was stolen from Stutzman the next year, and it was not until 2008 that he purchased another when he needed something to do during the winter months. Every day from then on, he practiced. He set the bow on his right shoulder with its standard-issued mechanical release aid. He drew it back, the trigger just underneath his jaw bone. Then, moving his jaw slightly backwards, using about as much pressure as it takes to click a computer mouse, he released the bow.

Bullseye. It was history since.

Jim Curtin joined the Philadelphia Union’s first team on November 29, 2012, after serving nearly two years an assistant coach with the senior squad before being named head coach in November 2014.

A native of Oreland, PA, Curtin joined the Union staff at the academy ranks in June 2010 after joining YSC Sports in Wayne as the director of curriculum development. Additionally, Curtin was the Union’s Under-18 Academy head coach and was instrumental in the U-18s capturing the 2012 Generation Adidas Cup.

Curtin attended Villanova University, where he was named Big East Rookie of the Year in 1997 and a three-time team MVP for the Wildcats. The All-American defender was a two-time first team All-Big East selection in 1999 and 2000 and was the 2001 Philadelphia Soccer Seven Player of the Year. He became the first player from Villanova to be drafted into the MLS when selected by the Chicago Fire in 2001.

The 2004 MLS All-Star played more than 150 games for the Fire as was named Chicago’s defender of the year in 2004 before finishing his final two seasons in the league with Chivas USA in 2008 and 2009.

Philadelphia Union named Curtin as the Head Coach on November 7, 2014 after he took over as interim team manager on June 10, 2014. Curtin quickly made his mark on the first team as interim manager, leading the Union to its first U.S. Open Cup Final in franchise history. Philadelphia lost to eventual Supporters’ Shield winners Seattle Sounders in extra time, 3-1, in the 2014 championship. Philadelphia finished with a 5-1-4 record at Talen Energy Stadium after Curtin took over managerial duties for the Union.

In 2015, Curtin led the Union to the U.S. Open Cup Final for the second consecutive year where they faced Sporting Kansas City at Talen Energy Stadium on Sept. 30. After 90 minutes of regular time and thirty minutes of extra time, the Union fell to Sporting KC in the eighth round of penalty kicks.

In the 2016 campaign, Curtin led Philadelphia to their second postseason appearance in club history. In 2018, Curtin again led the Union to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final, while also clinching an MLS Cup Playoffs berth for the third time in team history as well as the second time in two seasons. During the 2018 campaign, the Union reached 50 points for the first time in team history. The club also set a new record for most road wins in a season.

Curtin is a Philly native and resides in downtown Philadelphia with his wife Jen and three kids Ryan, Avery, and Miles.

Steven G. Mandis is an adjunct professor in the finance and economics department at Columbia Business School. He also teaches at Columbia’s Masters of Sports Management Program.

Mandis has written several award-winning books: What Happened to Goldman Sachs, The Real Madrid Way, What Happened to Serie A, and co-authored What Happened to the USMNT with Sarah Parsons Wolter . His Real Madrid book received endorsement quotes from Billy Beane, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Stern and was the subject of a BBC World Radio documentary.

Mandis worked at Goldman Sachs in the investment banking, private equity, and proprietary trading areas. Five years after Goldman’s IPO, he left Goldman and cofounded a multibillion-dollar global alternative asset management firm that was a trading and investment banking client of Goldman’s. He later sold his stake to his partners and an affiliate of Neuberger Berman. During the financial crisis, Mandis was a senior adviser to McKinsey & Company before becoming chief of staff to the president and COO of Citigroup and serving on executive, management, and risk committees at the firm. After the U.S. Treasury completed the sale of its shares in Citigroup at a profit for taxpayers, he left Citigroup and invested in Rapid Advance, a leading provider of capital for small businesses, which was sold a few years later to Rockbridge Growth Equity, co-founded by the principal owner of Quicken Loans and NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. Currently, Mandis is Chairman and Senior Partner of Kalamata Asset Management.

Mandis holds a BA from The University of Chicago and an MA, MPhil and PhD from Columbia University. Mandis was a two-sport varsity athlete in college and now competes in triathlons, including the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii; Ironman 70.3 World Championships; and Escape from Alcatraz.

He was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, given to children of immigrants who exemplify a life dedicated to community service. In addition, Mandis was granted an honorary commission and title of Kentucky Colonel from the governor of Kentucky and honorary title of Arkansas Traveler from the governor of Arkansas. He was invited to present how sports can be an enabler of social inclusion at the 57th Session of the Commission for Social Development at the United Nations.

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