When people think of the Summer Olympics, their minds may go to swimming, volleyball or even track. Archery may not be on people’s radars, but it should be.
Archery is one of the oldest sports that is still around today. The first official archery game was played in the 1900 Paris Olympics, six years after the first Olympic Games in Athens.
Archery was then played again in 1904, 1908 and 1920 before taking a leave of absence until 1952. It should be noted that along with being one of the oldest sports, archery was one of the first to include women.
The archery match in the 1904 Olympics was the first to see women compete. Since 1952, it has been played every four years at the Summer Olympics.
In these rich years of history, one man is the most decorated archer. Hailing from Belgium, Hubert Van Innis competed in 1900 and 1920, winning six gold and three silver medals.
Archery is not just an individual sport at the Olympics either. In 1988, the Olympics introduced team play. An updated set system for team play was later on introduced in 2016.
Four years earlier, an updated set system for individual play was made. This was the same year archery was made a core sport due to the high ticket sales and satisfaction from spectators.
The current No. 1 ranked male recurve archer is Brady Ellison from the United States with 343 points. For women, it’s Kang Chae Young from Korea with 306 points.
Individual competitors start off with 72 arrows. The top 64 archers are ranked and move on to the next round. The next round shows two athletes shooting against each other in sets of three. The winner must reach six points to advance to the next round. They then keep going all the way until it’s down to the last two athletes. The last two shoot for the gold medal.
For team play, the People’s Republic of China holds the lead with 347.75 points in the male recurve category. Once again for the women, Korea tops in the recurve category for team play.
Team matches are made up of three athletes from the same country and of the same gender. The combined scores from these three athletes are used to rank the teams from one to 12 and the matches proceed just like individual play from there.
Archers use a bow and arrow to aim for the 48 inches in diameter target that’s about 230 feet away. There are 10 scoring rings and the goal is to score the most points.
The inner ring is yellow and gives the archer nine to 10 points. The next ring is red, giving seven or eight points, followed by blue giving five or six points. Lastly are black and white giving three to four and one to two points respectively.
Archery is once again expected to be one of the most followed sports at this year’s Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. The Olympics start on July 24 and conclude on Aug. 9.