An introduction to archery, a classic Olympic sport

Tue 13 July 2021 | 10:30

Archery has been a part of the Olympics since 1900, but what do you really know about this sport except that the athletes use bows and arrows to shoot the target? what are the rules of the sport? We are here to answer these questions in an introduction to archery, a classic Olympic sport.

Archery at the Summer Olympics has a long history. Archery made its Olympic debut in the Summer Olympics of 1900 and has since been competed in 16 Olympics. Eighty-four countries have competed in Olympic archery events, with France winning the most with 31 appearances.

Since 1984, the most notable trend has been the success of South Korean archers, who have won 23 out of 34 gold medals in competitions.

The World Archery Federation oversees it (WA; formerly FITA). The only archery discipline represented at the Olympic Games is recurve archery. At the Summer Paralympics, archery is also a competition.

A complete and comprehensive introduction to archery, a classic Olympic sport

Now that we have started the Introduction with a general overview of archery in the Olympics, it is better that we step way back into the Olympics history and find out where it all started.

In this article, we would go over this sport's origins, the changes that it has undergone throughout these years, the rules, varieties, and some of the athletes which are known for their archery careers. All in all, it would be along the lines of the Olympics since Archery at Summer Olympics article is meant to prepare you for the upcoming event.

Without further ado let us hop into this comprehensive but brief article of the introduction of

archery at the Olympics.

Archery history

Archery is one of the oldest and most popular sports in the world. This history will take you on a journey through not just the growth of archery, but also the history of

archery at the Summer Olympics


Archery was first documented in the late Paleolithic period, circa 10,000 BC, when Egyptian and neighboring Nubian societies employed bows and arrows archery for hunting and warfare.

The Hittites and Assyrians shot their bows from chariots circa 1200 BC, becoming dangerous battle opponents. They used tendon, horn, and wood to make their bows, with a novel re-curved design. Their bows were shorter and more powerful as a result, making them easier to carry for a horseback archer.

The Egyptian pharaohs' favorite sport during the 18th dynasty was archery (1567-1320 BC). Many centuries later, during China's Zhou (Chou) dynasty (1027-256 BC), some of the oldest recorded archery games took place.

Archery history in Olympics

Let us take a look at the history of archery at the Olympics.

Archery made its first appearance at the second Olympic games, in Paris in 1900. Seven disciplines were fought over differing distances. Six archery events were held at the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, including three men's and three women's competitions.

Women's archery and team archery were also introduced. Three archery events were held at the 1908 Summer Olympics. The 1912 Summer Olympics did not have archery, but it returned in the 1920 Summer Olympics.

Archery was not contested at the Olympic games between 1920 and 1972. The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich featured a double FITA Round (from 2014 known as a '1440 Round') competition with two events: men's individual and women's individual.

The Grand FITA Round format was utilized until the 1988 Summer Olympics when team competition was added and the Grand FITA Round format was employed. The Olympic Round with head-to-head matchups was introduced during the 1992 Summer Olympics and has been utilized ever since.

Olympics archery varieties

In 1900, the year of archery’s glorious debut, Archery at the Summer Olympics had 7 different modes which changed in the next event.

Those modes were Au Cordon Doré, 50 metres/Au Cordon Doré, 33 metres/Au Chapelet, 50 metres/Au Chapelet, 33 metres/Sur la Perche à la Herse/ Sur la Perche à la Pyramide/ Championnat due Monde. This was the only year that these modes were present in Olympics archery and of course for one gender.

These 7 events were reduced to 6 in the next Olympics which was 1904. The modes were team round (dividing into men and women), Double American round for men, Double Columbian round for women, Double National round for women, and finally Double York round for men.

In 1908 the total number of modes was reduced again to 3, two of the modes being the same as the previous event (Double National round for women and Double York round for men) and one of them being new which was Continental style for men.

Things were a lot different in 1920. There was a total of 10 modes and only for men.

The Archery at the Olympics modes were Individual fixed large bird, Individual fixed small bird, Individual moving bird, 50 meters, Individual moving bird, 33 meters, Individual moving bird, 28 meters, Team fixed large bird, Team fixed small bird, Team moving bird, 50 meters, Team moving bird, 33 meters, Team moving bird, 28 meters.

The format of the old version of the archery in the Olympics underwent some serious changes. In 1972 that this sport once again became part of the Olympic classics, starting with 2 primary modes, Men's Individual and Women's individual.

In 1988, teams were also included in these modes making it a total of 4 modes, individuals and teams each divided into 2 sections, men and women.

In the current years, Olympic event a new mode will also be available for athletes of both genders to participate, together! This mode is called a Mixed team which would contain members of each gender.

Let us take a look at the rules and formats of each mode individually in the next part of

archery at the 2020 Summer Olympics


Olympics archery Individual

A total of 64 archers competes in the individual competitions in Archery at the Summer Olympics. The ranking round kicks off the competition. Each archer is given 72 arrows to shoot (in six ends, or groups, of 12 arrows). They are then seeded in the single-elimination tournament according to their score.

Following that, each archer's ultimate ranking is determined by their score in the round in which they were defeated, with archers who were defeated in the first round being ranked 33rd through 64th.

2008 and 2012 were the years that the formats were changed but before that, rules were quite different.

The first elimination round sets the top archer against the 64th, then the second against the 63rd, and so on. The archers shoot 18 arrows in ends of three arrows in this match, as well as the second and third. After 18 shots, the archer with the higher score advances to the next round, while the loser is eliminated.

After three rounds, there are only eight archers left.

The finals rounds consist of the remaining three rounds (quarterfinals, semifinals, and medal matches). Each archer fires 12 arrows, which are then grouped into three ends. Instead of shooting their arrows simultaneously as in the first three rounds, the two archers in the match alternate by arrow.

The losers of the quarterfinals are eliminated, while the losers of the semifinals compete for third place and the bronze medal. The gold medal match pits the two archers who went unbeaten through the semifinals against each other, with the winner taking the gold and the loser taking the silver.

Now let us see how the formats changed after those years and became what they are in Archery at the 2020 Summer Olympics. 

Under 2008, all matches were played in the previous finals round format, which consisted of 12 arrow matches. Archers took turns shooting arrows.

For the 2012 Olympics, the individual match system was totally redesigned, while the single elimination with bronze medal match structure was kept. Sets were now used throughout the matches. Both archers fired three arrows throughout each set.

Each archer received one point if the set was drawn; if the set was not drawn, each archer received two points. The match would go on until one archer had accumulated six points. If the match was still tied after five sets, the closest arrow to the center won a single arrow shoot-off.

Olympics archery team and mixed team

Now time for the team and mixed team rules and formats in Archery at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The results of the same ranking round as the individual competition are used to seed the teams in the team event. The scores of the team's three individual archers are added together to produce a team ranking round score.

After that, it's a single-elimination format, with the top four teams getting a bye into the quarterfinals. The bronze medal match pits the losers of the semifinals against each other.

The individual competition's set format was not utilized in 2012, but it was used starting in 2016. Prior to 2016, in team competitions, each archer shot 8 arrows, with the team with the best overall score (for a total of 24 arrows) winning the match.

The set system has been used since 2016, with each archer shooting two arrows per set for a total of six arrows per team per set. The results of the ranking round are used to qualify and seed teams in the mixed team tournament. Each of the 16 competing teams is made up of one male and one female in this year’s of

archery at the Summer Olympics


Olympics archery qualification rules

In this part of the introduction of Archery at the Summer Olympics, we have decided to provide you with some information about the ways and rules of qualification.

National Olympic Committees, not individual athletes, are given qualification positions in archery. An Olympic archer must be at least 18 years old. An NOC can qualify in one of two ways: as a team or as an individual.

An NOC that secures a team qualification position for each gender may send three archers to compete in the team event, with each archer also competing in the individual event. NOCs that gain individual qualification slots are only allowed to compete in one event.

The host nation, the top 8 teams at the World Archery Championships, and the top 3 teams at the Final World Team Qualification Tournament are the 12 team qualification positions for each gender.

In addition to the 36 seats available through team qualification, each gender will receive an extra 28 individual qualification spots, bringing the total number of competitors in each individual event to 64.

The ranking round at the Olympics determines who qualifies for the mixed team event.

But this format has been recently redesigned to what it is now. The qualification rules for 2012 have been tweaked somewhat. The host nation, as well as the top eight teams from the World Championship, received three slots.

Only 8 more people are qualified for the World Championship based on their individual placement.

Africa and Oceania were given just two qualification berths in the continental tournaments, compared to three for the other continents. The Tripartite Commission decided to keep its three choices. Final Qualification Tournaments determined the remaining 13 slots.

Olympics archery top countries

For the old age archery, by which archery events before 1972 are meant, Belgium was on the top of the list for its amazing performance.

This nation managed to achieve 11 gold, 6 silver, and 3 bronze medals. With a total of 20 medals, Belgium became the top nation of old age archery. The USA with a total of 18 and France with a total of 21 medals were also one of the top countries.

We have talked about the top countries but what about the top athletes? Let move to the next part of an introduction to 

archery at the Summer Olympics


Olympics archery famous athletes

Let us provide you with information about two of the finest athletes and record holders of this sport.

On the top of the list is Kim Woo-jin, the one who broke 72 arrows total point record in 2016 in the ranking stage. He managed to score 700 points with 72 arrows.

Kim was a member of the men's team that won gold at the 2011 World Archery Championships, as well as an individual gold medalist at the 2011 World Archery Championships and the 2012 FITA Archery World Cup. Despite this, he was not chosen for Korea's Olympic team in 2012.

Next on the list of some of the best athletes of Archery at the Summer Olympics is from the opposite gender.

Holding the record of the same section as Kim Woo-jin, Park Sung-Hyun achieved a new women's world record for the preliminary 72-arrow ranking round at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, scoring 682 points (out of a possible 720) to beat Natalia Valeeva of Italy's previous best of 679 sets three months earlier.

She also set a new world record for the women's team event over 216 arrows with colleagues Lee Sung-jin and Yun Mi-jin, achieving a combined total of 2,030 points from a maximum of 2,160. Both scores were not recorded as new Olympic records because the ranking round took place before the opening ceremony.

These were the new age athletes who also had records in their specific fields in Archery at the Summer Olympics but what about old age athletes?

Hubert van Innis, also known as Hubrecht van Innis, was a Belgian archery competitor who competed in two Summer Olympics 20 years apart and won six gold and three silver medals.

Van Innis was 34 years old when he competed in the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. He competed in four events, winning gold medals in the Au Cordon Doré 33 meters and the Au Chapelet 33 meters. He also finished second behind Frenchman Henri Hérouin in the Au Cordon Doré 50 meters. His worst finish was fourth in the Au Chapelet 50 meters.

Van Innis had to wait another twenty years before returning to the Olympic stage, competing in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, where he added to his medal tally with two more individual gold medals in the Individual moving bird, 28 meters (beating Frenchman Léonce Quentin in a two-person event) and the Individual moving bird, 33 meters.

Lida Scott Howell was an early twentieth-century female archer from the United States. At the 1904 Summer Olympics in Missouri, she won three gold medals in archery in the double national and Columbia rounds, as well as for the US team. Thomas Scott, her father, is the oldest archer to have ever competed in the Olympics.

Thank you for reading the introduction to Archery at the Summer Olympics. We would appreciate it if you share this amazing article with your friends or family members so they can learn more about this exciting sport.

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