An Overview of Olympic Archery

 By: Scott Byers
Archery first appeared as a sport in the Olympic games in Paris in 1904, 1908, and 1920. 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: Men's Individual, Women's Individual, Men's Team and 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.


Individual 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.

Each team consists of three archers.

In all matches in the team event, each team shoots three ends of nine arrows each with each archer on the team shooting one end.

Each of the three archers is required to finish their end within three minutes.
Only one archer of the team shoots at a time.

When the first archer finishes shooting his end, the second archer starts. The third shooter follows the second one.
The arrows are scored and pulled after each team shoots nine arrows.

The winners of each match move to the next round.

The first round or eighth-finals consists of 16 teams on the line shooting in eight matches.

The second round or quarterfinals consists of the eight winning teams shooting at the same time in four matches.

In the semifinal round, the four winning teams meet.

The losers of the semifinals shoot for the bronze medal.

The winners shoot for the gold.

If tied, each archer from each team shoots one arrow.

The closest of the three arrows to the center for each team
will be compared to the closest-to-the-center arrow of the other team to break the tie.

Only one archer from each team shoots at a time.
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