Archery in Olympics
By Laura Lee - June 10, 2023

In the Paris 1900 Games, archery was first incorporated into the Olympic program. Seven different tournaments with differing shooting distances and targets were held. Olympic competition in archery took place in 1904 and 1908, but not in the 1912 games. The last time it appeared was in 1920, approximately 50 years ago. From 1920 until 1972, there were no Olympic archery competitions. Two competitions, a men’s and a women’s tournament, were contested during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Since then, archery has been included in the Olympic Games. Men’s and women’s team competitions were added in 1988, and a mixed-gender event will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020.

Belgian competitors have been the finest in the sport during the first twenty years of Olympic Archery (1900–1920), capturing 11 of the sport’s 25 gold medals. But South Korea has dominated the sport since archery was brought back into the Olympics, taking home 23 gold medals since 1972. It appears that archery will remain an Olympic event for the foreseeable future. The main debate is whether compound bows belong in the Games. Some believe that compound bows disrupt the fundamental character of archery since they are thought to be more technologically sophisticated than the commonly utilized recurve bows.

Compound bow advocates note that there may be two tournaments, one for recurve bows and one for compound bows. Many experts support the inclusion of a compound bow program. The 2019 Archery World Championships included compound bow competitions, and it’s feasible that the 2024 Olympics may do the same. However, they were not part of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Olympic archers aim from a distance of 70 meters at a 122cm target. They must land on the gold center ring, or the bulls-eye, only 12cm away, to receive the highest score possible.