Olympic Archery: Here’s Everything That You Need To Know
Archery is often associated with cultural advance. Long before it became a sport, archery was a method of hunting and defense, using basic bows and arrows. Later it evolved into one of the oldest sport still in practice, as people started doing target practice for fun. Many link it to the development of civilization, because archery was considered a superior form of weaponry for centuries.
Today, sporting empires are being established with the mastery of the sport in the greatest arena—the Olympics. The sport was first admitted into the Olympic Games in 1900. It was excluded for a prolonged period from 1920 until 1972. It has been in the games ever since. One of the pioneers of the sport in the Olympics was the Belgian, Hubert Van Innis, who became the most decorated player in the history of Olympic archery. He won nine medals in total—six gold and three silver—in the 1900 and 1920 Olympic Games.
Olympic archery gear
Archery has come a long way from the noble sport that started with a simple bow and arrow. The equipment that Olympic archers use is a combination of sophisticated parts that enhance precision and balance.
Parts of the bow
Recurve bows are used in the Olympics. Men’s category bows draw about 48.5 pounds on average; for female competitors, the bow is 33 pounds. The bow can have a mechanical sight without any optical improvements. It also has stabilizers. The length of the main stabilizer is between 29 and 36 inches, while the bottom stabilizer is about 12 to 15 inches long.
Counter-balance weight, vibration dampener and torque compensator
These three parts work in unison to absorb vibration and shock from the bow when the arrow is released. They also help to balance bow.
This is the handle of the bow. It provides the foundation for the support for other elements.
The bow is wrapped in tennis grip material, whose rough texture prevents it from slipping.
During the draw process, the archer may slightly shift the aim from the target. This part helps him release without deviating too much from the same spot.
The limb refers to the handle to the tip of the bow. Typically, it should be able to handle a weight of 48 to 51 pounds when drawn.
Parts of the arrow
The attachment that holds an arrow in place during a draw is the nock. It is located on the rear end to rest on the string of the bow.
This is the tip that penetrates the target. It is shaped like a bullet for maximum aerodynamics.
This is the long, narrow stem of the arrow, which links the nock to the pile. It can be made of wood, aluminum or carbon. However, the Olympic rules prohibit shafts that exceed 9.3 mm in diameter.
Real or fake feathers that are attached to the arrow to keep it stable as it moves in the air toward the target.
The target is the point that the archers are supposed to hit with the arrow. It has a 122cm diameter, divided into 10 equal scoring rings in 5 differentiating colors. The target is normally placed 70 meters away. It is set on a 75-80 degree incline for any distance.
The 2016 Olympic Games archery events
The archery events at the Summer Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 took place within seven days starting from 6 August to 12 August.
Format of the competition
There were 126 competitors in total in the four events:
• men’s individual
• women’s individual
• men’s team
• women’s team
Every single event involved single-elimination tournament. Only the semi-final losers’ contest involved a play off to determine the winner of the bronze medal.
Olympic archery scoring
Scoring at the 2016 Olympics was based on the Archery Olympic Round. This system used the best-of-five sets; each set had three arrows, whereby the victors of each set were awarded two points. If a tie occurred in a set, each archer in the respective set would get a single point. If there was a 5–5 tie at the end of the five sets, the contestants were required to take a single arrow shoot-off. The winner would be the one who shot closest to the center.
It was the first Olympic Games in which the team event followed the same set system applied in the individual event—the Archery Olympic Round.
To qualify for the Olympic archery events, archers had to achieve the minimum qualification score (MQS), which was:
• 70m round of 630 for men
• 70m round of 600 for women
The contestants must have achieved the MQS between 26 July 2015 and 11 July 2016 at an event recognized by World Archery. That is roughly 40-48 pounds in the case of women while men had to have amassed 45-55 pounds.
Heavier draw weights typically enable one to achieve flatter arrow trajectories and greater arrow speeds, which allow more accuracy and less drift for the arrow as it flies through the wind.
On a single competition day of an Olympic competition, each archer can shoot almost 100 arrows. That translates to about 4,000 pounds of load drawn in total under extreme pressure.
2016 Olympic archery results
The South Korean men’s archery team won the gold medal while the United States team took the silver medal. The South Korean scored 142, compared to Valladont’s 138, as he prevailed 7-3 in the final.
The champion hit eight perfect 10s on his way to the gold, while the Frenchman obtained six. The Australian team took the bronze medal.
In the women’s competition, South Korea emerged victorious once again followed by Russia with the silver. TPE took home the bronze.
In the individual men’s competition, Bonchan Ku of South Korea prevailed 7-3 to take the gold after scoring 142, while Jean-Charles Valladont of France won silver with 138. Bonchan Ku got eight perfect 10s, while Jean-Charles Valladont hit six. Brady Ellison of the USA won the bronze medal.
Hyejin Chan of South Korea won the individual women’s gold medal. German Lisa Unruh and South Korean Bo Bae Ki won the silver and the bronze respectively.
Archery is now among the most popular sports in the Olympics. The 2016 Rio Olympic Games highlighted how much fun and sophistication it involves.