National Sports Campus
Contact: Rohan O’Duill
Archery was a sporadic part of the modern Olympic schedule through the early 1900s, with events in the 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1920 Summer Games. In archery’s early years, competitors were allowed to compete in a more than one event, allowing them to win a multitude of medals. One of the best was Belgian Hubert Van Innis, who won six golds and nine archery medals in total in both team and individual competitions.
After a hiatus of 52 years, archery returned to take a full-time place in the rosta of Summer Games sports in Munich, Germany, in 1972. Team archery for three-strong squads was added to the events list for the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea.
One of the best archers of recent times is South Korean Soo-Nyung Kim, who wowed the crowds at her home Olympics in 1988 by scoring gold in both the women’s individual and team events at the age of 17. After another individual gold medal-winning performance in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992 she retired from the sport at the age of 21, but returned to Olympic competition in Sydney, Australia, in 2000 to win a fourth gold in the team event.
Modern Olympic archery competitions take place outdoors. Competitors shoot 70 metres to a 122cm-diameter target of 10 concentric circles. The largest outer ring is worth just one point, with the score increasing by one point per ring as they get closer to the centre. The smallest ring – the bulls-eye – is just 12cm in diameter and counts for a maximum of 10 points.
A maximum of 64 archers for each of the men’s and women’s competitions are ranked in a pre-tournament session. Each archer shoots six ‘ends’ of 12 arrows each – a total of 72 arrows. The archers’ total score is then used to determine their place in the ranking. In the tournament itself archers or teams compete against each other in head-to-head elimination matches, with the final match eventually deciding who wins the tournament.
After competitors are ranked, the number one seed plays the 64th-ranked player, while the number two seed plays the 63rd-ranked player. Each archer shoots six ‘ends’ of three arrows (a total of 18 arrows) each, with a maximum time allowance of 40 seconds allowed per arrow. The highest total score wins the match. This progress until the quarterfinals, when there are eight archers left. Competitors now shoot four ‘ends’ of three arrows, again with a maximum of 40 seconds per arrow. This works down to a final top two winners from the semi finals, who face off for the gold and silver, while the losers of the semi finals fight for bronze.
In both the men’s and women’s team events, national squads consist of three archers from the ranking round. The 16 best national teams compete against each other in matches. Each team shoots three ‘ends’ of nine arrows (each member shooting three arrows) with a maximum of three minutes per end. Once again, the highest team score wins the match until eventually four teams are left to compete for the medals and the fourth-place runner-up spot.