London 2012 Guide to…Archery

  • Archery had an interesting beginning to the Olympics.

It was introduced to the Games in 1900 but only lasted until 1908, when it was removed from the list of sports due to, among other things, inequalities in equipment between nations. Despite a one-off appearance in Antwerp in 1920, it took over 50 years for archery to take off for good and become a regular Olympic sport.

It was in the Munich games in 1972 when archery became first on the list (literally) once again for the Olympic Games, and it continues to appear on the Games’ schedule every four years. Men and women compete in individual events, and there are also team competitions – consisting of three archers per team.

The picturesque Lord’s cricket ground will be the venue for the archery competitions during the Games.

  • So what’s the aim?

Archers attempt to hit as close to the centre of the target as possible, and just 40 seconds are allocated for them to fire each arrow. 10 points are awarded – the maximum available – if the gold is hit, while fewer points are given depending on where arrows land on the target.

  • Easy, right?

Archers fire arrows from 70m away, and the gold (the name of the centre spot) is just 12.2cm in diameter, so no, not really.

  • Awesome archers

South Korea has dominated archery in the Games, and it is the country’s most successful Olympic sport, having won a total of 16 golds. Meanwhile, the USA are the next best, with eight gold medals to their name.

South Korea’s Dong-Hyun Im was part of the winning men’s team in Beijing in 2008 and his story is a very unusual one. Im is considered legally blind, but despite this, he has worked his way up to be the number one archer in the world – a remarkable achievement.

  • Local hopefuls

Allison Williamson, who has taken part in the last five Olympics, will look to combine this experience with the support of the home crowd to ensure she finishes on the winners’ podium.

Simon Terry, Larry Godfrey and Alan Wills are likely to be the best for Team GB on the men’s side.

And Finally…

Look out for: the arrows.

Not to be confused with: darts, or the radio 4 programme.

Useless but informative fact: archery is Bhutan’s national sport.

Archery in two words: precision, concentration.

Olympic archery events will take place between 27 July and 3 August.