Butch Johnson's Guide to Watching Archery- page 2 | Summer Olympics | Smithsonian
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Butch Johnson's Guide to Watching Archery

Butch Johnson's Guide to Watching Archery

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(Continued from page 1)

Stance - The way the archer stands and holds his or her body throughout the shot. Some archers shoot partially turned toward the target (open stance) while others stand perpendicular to the target (square stance).

Anchor - Once the string is drawn back, the act of securing the string in the same spot on the archer’s face each time. Most Olympic archers will draw the string to a point under their jaw, and the string will lightly touch the center of their nose as a reference point.  

Rules

Ranking Round - Sixty-four competitors are seeded based on the their scores during a ranking round. Archers shoot 72 arrows in 6 "ends," or groups, of 12 arrows during this round.

Single Elimination - In the individual competition, archers are paired up based on their ranking and shoot matches against one another. If an archer loses a match, they are finished in the individual competition. They start by bracketing number 1 versus 64 and so forth, until only four archers remain. Those archers shoot a semifinal match, and the winners of that match shoot for gold, while the losers will shoot for bronze. In the team event, teams are ranked based on their archers' individual performance in the ranking round. Archers' scores are added together to create a team qualifying score, then the teams are bracketed against one another in the same way individuals are.

The Shooting Line - Archers will have a line from which they shoot and during the team round, there will be a one meter line behind the shooting line. Only one archer at a time can be past that line. If another archer moves into that space too soon, it’s a rule violation.

Game Changers

2009 - Carbon bows became commercially popular. In contrast with the wooden bows of yesteryear, today's Olympians are shooting bows that preserve the ancient, elongated look and feel, but are made of high tech materials such as carbon and aluminum for the riser, and carbon, wood and parabolic foam for the limbs.

2010 - A switch is made from cumulative scores in individual competition matches to “set play,” in which the scoring is similar to tennis. Archers each shoot a three arrow set and score it. The winner of the set receives two points; one point for a tie, and zero for a loss. The match continues until one archer receives six set points. If the archers end at a 5-all draw, they shoot a one-arrow shoot off to see whose arrow is closest to center; that archer wins the match.

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