London 2012: Archery

Published On July 12, 2012 | By Arielle Aronson

Tell me about archery:

Archery used to be more about survival than about sport, but instead of hunting for food, Olympic archers will be hunting gold medals. The event will take place at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, which can hold 6,500 spectators. There are four types of competitions in archery: men’s and women’s individual archery and men’s and women’s team archery. A total of 64 athletes from 16 different countries will compete for gold this summer. They will be tasked with shooting an arrow 70 meters to the heart of a 122-centimeter wide target. Now even more popular because of the success of The Hunger Games worldwide, Olympic archery is sure to draw plenty of spectators in 2012.

What’s up with the scoring?

Archers play into matches divided into sets. In each set, an individual or team fires a total of three arrows at a target, and each arrow is scored based on how close it lands to the center of the target. The winner of each set wins two points, and if a set ends in a tie, the teams or individuals with the most points each receive one point. The first archer or team to reach six points wins unless scores are tied at five-all, in which case the match enters a tiebreak.

International archers to watch:

South Koreans excel in archery, taking 30 of the total 96 medals awarded since the beginning of the modern archery competition in 1976. South Korea has never lost in the women’s team archery competition, and they’ve won three of the last men’s team golds. When it comes to individual competition, however, South Korea has never won gold. An interesting South Korean to watch will be Im Dong-Hyun, who is legally blind. Despite his impairment, Dong-Hyun is an incredibly consistent archer who trains by performing the exact same motions as often as possible to imprint his technique into muscle memory. His hard work has paid off, and Dong-Hyun is a two-time team archery gold medalist.

American archers to watch:

The United States archers are the second-best performers in Olympic archery history behind the South Koreans. The men’s team of Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie enters the Olympics ranked No. 1 in the world. The women’s team of Miranda Leek, Khatuna Lorig and Jennifer Nichols won the gold medal at the 2012 Archery World Cup and is the first full American women’s team to qualify for the Olympics since 2004. They will look to medal for the first time since 1988. Lorig is an especially interesting archer for Hunger Games fans, as she coached actress Jennifer Lawrence for The Hunger Games films.

Talk like an Olympian – terms to know:

Bow – instrument archers use to fire an arrow at the target.
Bowman – another name for an archer
Draw – when an archer pulls back on the bow string to launch the arrow
Boss – another name for the target

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About The Author

Arielle Aronson is a sports writer and recent graduate from Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Print Journalism Magna Cum Laude. Arielle has a passion for sports cultivated from growing up with two older brothers. She also enjoys playing the piano, reading and traveling.