An Overview of Olympic Archery

by Scott Byers

Archery first appeared as a sport in the Olympic Games in Paris in 1900. Because no formal rules were developed for the game, each country developed their own format. The Federation Internationale de Tir a l'Arc (FITA) was founded in 1931 and created standardized rules for competition. At first, there were only individual competitions held, but 1988 team competitions began being held.

There are four different archery events held at the Olympics:

  1. Men's Individual
  2. Women's Individual
  3. Men's Team
  4. Women's Team.

Archers used to shoot a double FITA round of 288 total arrows, with the championship decided by the highest total score. In an effort to make the sport more exciting, the format was changed to head-to-head elimination for the top 64 competitors beginning with the 1992 Olympics.

olympic games posterIndividual Competition:

The format of the men's and women's individual competition is the same and consists of a ranking round followed by the FITA Olympics round. In the ranking round, archers shoot 72 arrows at a target 70 meters (229 feet, 8 inches) away in 12 ends of six arrows each. A perfect score is 720. The same set of shots is used to seed teams for the team competitions. The FITA Olympic round is divided into the elimination round and the finals round. The 64 competitors, seeded from the ranking round, advance to the elimination round, a single-elimination, head-to-head style of competition (seed No. 64 vs. seed No. 1, 63 vs. 2, etc). Six ends of three arrows -- for a total of 18 -- are shot at a target 70 meters away with a 40-second time limit per arrow.

Team Competition

The format of the men's and women's team competition is the same and consists of the ranking round, followed by the FITA Olympic round. In the ranking round, archers shoot 72 arrows at a target 70 meters (229 feet, 8 inches) away in 12 ends of six arrows each. A perfect score is 720. The same set of shots is used to seed competitors in the individual competitions as well. In the men's and women's competitions, the top 16 teams -- seeded from the ranking round -- are selected using scores from the ranking round. If there are less than 16 teams, the top teams will be given byes.

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