History of Olympic Archery

darel pace history of archery olympics

Despite its prominence, archery did not appear in the very first Olympic Games, which happened in Athens, Greece, in 1894. Instead, archery entered the Olympic competitions in Paris, France, in 1900. Six different events of various distances were held. Only males competed in this inaugural edition of Olympic archery.

In 1904, as part of the St. Louis-hosted Olympic Games, six archery events took place. This was different from the events held in 1900 because it added women’s rounds and team events. But no athletes participated outside of the United States.

However, the excessive number of local variations resulted in the archery Olympics being eliminated. The Global Organization for World Archery was established in 1931 to bring archery back to the quadrennial events.

They eventually succeeded in this endeavor 40 years later when archery was allowed to return to the Olympics in Munich 1972, in which recurve events became the most popular format.

Presently, 64 males and females compete in the team, individual, and mixed-team archery program during the Olympics. Team events first launched in 1988. The Mixed Team event was scheduled to be held for the first time in Tokyo 2020.

Archery Regulations

archery matchplay

Source: World Archery

The archer shoots 72 arrows during the qualification phase in the individual competition. The total score is used to rank the MatchPlay phase in which archers battle it out head-to-head.

In the MatchPlay, archers are competing in best-of-5 sets. A set is defined as the number of arrows shot by an archer or team. Teams with a higher total score will earn two points when they win the set. Each archer or team member is given a point if the set gets drawn.

For individual events, 3 arrows constitute a set. It is four arrows if it is a mixed team and six Arrows for a team event.

The team or archer who is the first that accumulates 6 points will be declared the winner in a MatchPlay, and the losers are eliminated. This pattern repeats till the final, where the winner receives the gold medal while the loser is awarded a silver medal.

If the scores remain equal at the end of five games, the match is rearranged to a tie-break. In the individual event, winners are decided by the player whose arrow falls closest to the goal.

In a mixed team or team competition, archers shoot an arrow. The team with the highest total is declared to be the winner.

Distance of Olympics Archery

The Archery Olympic Round is currently used for medals in Olympic archery. The idea was to make archery enjoyable to watch as a competitive event and was designed in conjunction with World Archery. Since 2010 this Archery Olympics has used a sets system instead of 12 arrow matches. The Olympic archery distance for the round is 70 meters.

Bows Used in Olympic Archery

type of bows

There are three Type of bows used in Olympic Archery: Recurve bows, Compound Bows, and Barebows.

Recurve Bow

recurve bow olympics

The recurve is the only bow used during the Olympic Games. Recurve archers pull the string toward their face using their fingers. They aim at the target using an eye. The arrow is then released downwards toward the goal.

The area that holds the bow is known as the riser from which the bow’s branches are extended. The bowstrings are tied around the top of each leg.

A movable sight, a rod-like item with a sight pin that helps archers see their target, is attached. It is also connected to the riser.

Archers utilize both short and long rods to stabilize the bow. This aids during windy conditions or keeps the bow straight when the archer releases the arrow. Archers use arm guards and finger tabs to guard themselves against the bowstring to keep their forearms safe from rubbing against the bowstring.

Compound Bow

compound bow

The compound bow can be comparable to an Olympic recurve bow, except that the bowstrings connect to the limbs by pulleys (also known as cams). This makes archery less physically demanding, allowing for greater precision and power at an extended distance.

A compound archer can also view his target from an eyepiece with the aid of a magnifying lens. The compound competitions are organized in World Archery Championships and Archery World Cup but not at the Olympics.

The goal for a compound event is set at 50 meters. The targeted face is 80cm in size, and the outermost 10-point ring is 8cm in size.



Barebow is the most primitive type of bow, where archers have no stabilizers or sight pins to shoot at their targets. Barebow archers shoot targets at 50m, and the target’s face is 122cm in diameter.

Archery Category

The Olympics archery is divided into indoor, target, and field.

Target Archery

archery target

Target archery is shooting stationary circular targets that are set at particular distances.

Archers can shoot up to 70 meters (for the recurve) or 50m (for compound) in competition standard. Archers aim for the five-color scoring zones in blue, red, gold, and black rings.

The yellow rings that are in the middle are scored at ten and nine points, while red rings score eight and seven, blue rings score between six and five, black rings score with a three and four, while the white rings that are on the outside score two points and one.

This is perhaps the best-known version of archery in modern times and is used at archery events like the Olympic Games and World Archery Championships.

Indoor Archery

indoor archery

Indoor archery is an alternative to target archery, in which archers aim their bows at stationary circular targets for shorter distances (generally 18 meters) within a structure.

The World Archery Indoor Championships were held from 1991 until 2018, and, since there, a brand new event called the ‘Indoor World Archery Series’ was organized.

Field Archery

field olympic archery

In contrast, it is a field archery sport where archers aim at stationary targets with various dimensions, set at different distances, angles, and heights in the direction of natural terrain. It tests archers’ abilities in judging distances and shooting upwards and downwards with changing light conditions.

Field archery competitions are staged as part of the World Archery Field Championships and are held every two years. In 1969, the event was held for the first time.

Olympic Archery Target Size

It is a five-colored Olympic size archery target measuring approximately 122 centimeters wide. Ten scoring rings are included, which measure 12.2cm in diameter. Each color is comprised of two rings. The gold color in the middle is worth 10 or 9 points. Red rings earn around seven or eight points. After that, blue rings earn either six or five points, while black scores three or four points and white scores one or two points.

Difference between Men and Women’s Olympic Archery

men and women archery

The sport was the first to have women’s events during the Olympics 1904. Olympic women’s archery has been long praised for promoting gender equality in competition. The only difference in the Men’s and Women’s Olympic Archery is the format of the match.


For the individual events, all 64 men and women contestants compete in the first round, with 64 participants. The draw will be seeded based on the outcome of the ranking rounds. Therefore, the first seed will likely compete against the 64th seed in the initial round.

Team Event

The team event uses the same scoring format as the individual competition. The top four seeded teams will qualify to the quarterfinals, and the other eight teams, ranked 5th to 12th, will be expected to battle for the final four spots in the quarterfinals.

Mixed Team

In the mixed team competition, the top 16 teams seeded in the ranking round will play in a single-elimination bracket.

For the women’s and the men’s team events, the set system employs four arrows per team (four arrows for a team for mixed teams) with four sets.

How To Become The Best Archer At The Olympics?

archery training

Rigorous Training

The first step to becoming the best archer at the Olympics is training smartly. This is no easy job; however, it is essential for the success of any athlete. The next step is to follow a structured training plan and keep track of all the information that will help you improve. If you can’t commit to an hour of archery training a day, then you shouldn’t start. You will have to find a more substantial motivation if you’re serious about the sport.

Consistent Shot Practice

arrow shooting practice

The next thing that every archer should do is improve their shot consistency. This is an essential aspect of improving your ten counts. It is challenging to gauge shot consistency because most archers think a good shot goes in the ten. However, it is also easy to say that a shot is good if it seems effortless. So, what are the ways to improve your consistency in your shot?

Practice shooting a lot of Arrows

Taking notes is a good idea. It will help you analyze your shooting technique and improve your aim. A good archer should shoot more than 1,000 arrows per week. The goal should be five hundred a week, but if you’re just starting out, then aim for three hundred a week. Remember that shooting thousand arrows a week might make you the best archer at the Olympics.

Watch videos

Improve your shooting technique by watching videos of the major archery competitions. This will help you subconsciously refine your form and increase your target scores. The best archer’s practice is by eliminating silly mistakes from their shots. If you practice the sport every day, you will become the best archer in the world. But it takes thousands of shots to integrate the changes to your equipment and form.

Aim for perfection

archery perfection

The Olympic cycle can last anywhere from three to four years. The archer must shoot two arrows per set. After that, he must analyze each shot and analyze its cause. A missed shot is a sign of poor form. Using a simple system of rating each shot from 0 to two helps you analyze every single change in his form. If you’re looking to become the best archer at Olympics, these tips can help you improve your shooting and score high at the Olympic Games.

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Keeping a healthy life is another crucial component of training. You need to maintain a healthy balance between your life and your sport. Having the proper physical condition is the key to making the Olympic team. It is also vital for your mental health.

Take Criticism And Improve

The best archer is willing to receive constructive criticism and put the coach’s recommendations into practice. The best archers will have an incredible love for the sport and work tirelessly to improve their skills. The process starts with choosing the right coach. A good coach will be able to provide constructive critique and follow-up on the suggestions made by the coach. This is important, as it will give the archer confidence to compete at an Olympic level.

Draw Weight

archery draw weight

Achieving good scores is all about controlling the bow and shot. However shorter the period your arrow spends in the air, the less it will get affected by the weather and impact the place it will land. Competitive archers must not oversell the weight of the draw they are shooting.

But bows that cannot handle the weight or with a mass will result in injury and cause you to miss quicker, so a careful balance is needed when selecting the draw weight. In the ideal scenario, you should be capable of holding your bow with a full draw for at least 20 minutes.

Bow Tuning

bow tuning

Bow setup and tuning aim to assist in launching the arrow up to the 10th degree with as minimal interference between the bow and you as is possible. Some numerous shortcuts and systems will help you through the procedure.

It is essential to take the time to ensure that everything is in order, mainly checking measurements such as bracing height at every step you build your bow. The essential piece of equipment that can help make bow tuning and setting up easy and fast is ensuring that arrows are correctly spined. Many archers mistake bow tuning to manipulate improperly spined arrows to move straight.

Set Weekly Goals

Identify your target. Set a weekly target. You can make your goal more difficult by making a score-based decision. For example, if you aim to hit a ten-yard target, you should hit it with a two-yard shot. Setting a target at 20 yards will make the shot much more accurate. A ten-yard target is an important benchmark to aim for.


The best way to become the best archer is to practice. Athletes should commit to shooting the bow. In addition to this, they must reflect on their posture and draw length. They should also have the proper physical and mental fitness to perform well in Olympic competitions. And lastly, they must have the right attitude. An archer’s work ethic should be impeccable. They should practice even if they are not feeling well.