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The Olympics consists of 35 different sports, 53 disciplines, and more than 400 events but is archery one of them? I spent some time reviewing the program to find out!
So, is archery in the Olympics? Archery is a sport in the Olympics, although target archery is the only discipline included. Archery was first introduced at the 1900 games but soon took a 50-year hiatus due to host and athlete complications. In 1972 archery re-entered the competition and has been active to date.
It’s certainly a shame that archery was omitted from the Olympics for over 50 years, but thankfully it’s back.
And hopefully for good.
We’re talking about the Summer Olympics here; at present, there are no Winter Olympic Archery events.
And of course, this is only target archery. No barebow event exists.
Let us now take a closer look at how archery works at the Olympics so you know what to expect and what to look forward to.
Besides, it does come around every 4 years!
How Many Archery Events Are There In The Olympics?
There are presently four archery events in the Olympics; an individual competition for men, an individual competition for women, a team competition (both male teams and female teams), and also a mixed team competition.
These events take place in the 4-yearly Summer Olympics – including the Summer Paralympics, but not in the Winter Olympics of either variant.
How Does Archery Work In The Olympics?
Archery in the Olympics is all about individuals and teams shooting their arrows as close to the center of the target as they can. The Olympics uses a ranking system, followed by a knock-out and system of elimination.
It all starts with the target.
Olympic archery targets are designed to be 122 cm in diameter.
They have ten scoring rings, each in a different color and each offering a different number of points. Those toward the centre provide more points.
The gold (inner most color ring) offers 9/10 points.
Archers must stand 70m from the target prior to shooting.
They also have 20 seconds to shoot each arrow, where they take it in turns with the archer they are competing against.
Matches are divided into sets, and athletes get two points if they come out with the highest score in the set (1 if it ends a draw).
Each set consists of three arrows.
The first athlete to six points wins.
Here is how the competition begins, and unfolds:
All male and female archers will shoot 72 arrows at the target.
This will allow them to be ranked from 1-64 (which is based on their total score).
The rankings then determine the matchups.
The first-ranked archer will face the 64th ranked archer (best vs worst).
The second ranked archer will face the 63rd ranked (second best vs second worst)
And so on and so forth.
Each match is an elimination match with each athlete leaving the competition if they lose, the winner proceeding to the next round.
By the end, two athletes will remain who compete one-vs-one for the gold.
The semi final match competes for bronze.
How Do You Qualify For Olympic Archery?
To qualify for Olympic Archery, athletes must be selected by their National Archery Committee and then they must achieve the following minimum qualification score: men (70m round of 640) and women (70m round of 605).
In total, there are 128 places available for archers at the Olympics; split evenly between men and women (64 apiece).
Each National Olympic Committee (also known as NOC’s) can enter 6 competitors, 3 for each gender.
There are 12 team spots available for each gender, so a total of 36 individuals participate in team qualification.
When it comes to team qualification, they must do so through events.
World championships, continental games and tournaments make up the list of events.
The top eight teams in the team event will qualify for the Olympics.
So, an athlete has to first be selected by their nation and then work with other athletes from the same nation to get their team into the Olympics (where there is only 8).
Here is the full qualification procedure, as set out by the World Archery Foundation (the governing body for the sport of archery).
Archery Olympic Table Medal And Nation Ranks
Below you can find the full, current ranking table from all competing nations. This includes all archery competitions since 1900:
|1||South Korea (KOR)||23||9||7||39|
|2||United States (USA)||14||11||9||34|
|5||Great Britain (GBR)||2||2||5||9|
|8||Soviet Union (URS)||1||3||3||7|
|17||Chinese Taipei (TPE)||0||1||2||3|
|22||Unified Team (EUN)||0||0||2||2|
|Totals (22 nations)||65||65||56||186|
**This table is up to date as of June 2021, before the Tokyo Summer Olympics of 2021.**
So as you can see, South Korea top the pile.
They’re certainly the team to beat, with the United States not too close behind!
Archery is in the Olympics.
In fact, despite its absence for 50 years, its an event that gets a lot of interest.
And to date, 84 nations have competed.
While France have competed the most out of any nation, South Korea appear to be producing the best archery talent.
They’ve won 23/34 gold medals since 1984.
So they are without doubt, the team to beat at Tokyo 2021 and beyond!
I live in Alberta, Canada where I enjoy indoor and 3D archery with traditional bows and compound bows. On this site, I share everything I’ve learned about archery along the way.