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Summer Olympics Introduction: Understanding the Basics of Olympic Archery

Yahoo Contributor Network

One of the great things about the Olympics is that it gives casual sports fans throughout the world a chance to see sports they would normally not have any real interest in.

A great example of this is archery, a sport many people get a chance to try at some point during summer camp or high school gym class, but few ever get to watch contested at a high level. But the Olympics offer people a chance to change that--a chance to see the best in the world compete at the highest level.

So for those of you who are looking to branch out and experience a new sport this summer, here's how the archery competition will work:

Number of Competitors

First of all, there will be 64 men and 64 women competing in the individual events at the summer games. In the team events, there will be 16 men's teams and 16 women's teams. All four of the events proceed in the same fashion described below.

Ranking Round

To begin the competition, there is a seeding round in which each competitor or team shoots 72 arrows in 12, six-arrow phases to determine a "ranking score." The best total score from those 72 arrows is seeded first, the second best is second and so forth until all athletes or teams are seeded. At that point, the competition enters a direct-elimination format similar to NCAA March Madness basketball.

Direct Elimination

In the direct elimination portion of the competition, the two competitors are given targets next to one another and one minute to fire three arrows at their targets. The higher score from those three arrows is the winner of that "round" and is awarded two "set points." In the event of a tie, both athletes/teams will be awarded one set point. There are five rounds, so once an athlete (or team) reaches 6 out of a maximum 10 possible set points, he is declared the winner and moves on to the next round.

Timing of the Event

Due to the extreme mental pressure that is placed on an athlete, and the exceptional focus that each athlete must maintain during an archery competition, there is only one round per day that athletes compete in. As a result, archery will be taking place at the Olympics from July 27 until Aug. 3, with the medal rounds taking place as follows:

Men's Team: July 28; Women's Team: July 29; Women's Individual: Aug. 2; and Men's Individual: Aug. 3.

One to Watch

It's not a sport you get to see every day, but it's definitely an interesting watch none the less. And if you're looking for a specific storyline to follow, check out South Korean Im Dong-Hyun. He is legally blind in one eye, and is only 26 years old, yet he is gunning for his third Olympic gold medal this year in London. No one can deny the excitement of an athlete who rises up to overcome an obvious handicap--should be a fun show.

My name is Peter Souders and I am an Olympic enthusiast and frequent contributor to the YCN. I've competed recreationally in archery, and have a basic knowledge of the ins and outs of the sports, as well as the mental focus it demands.

Sources:

Im Dong-Hyun Profile

Olympic Archery Page

Olympic Archery Schedule

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