Archery at the Olympic Games

The field of play at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Archery first appeared in the Olympic Games in 1900 and was contested again in 1904, 1908, and 1920. Women competed in the 1904 Olympics, making archery one of the first sports to include events for both genders.

The sport then had a 52-year hiatus from the Olympics. It was re-introduced to the programme in 1972, with individual events for men and women.

During the first four Games in which archery was contested, it was possible for an athlete to compete in numerous events and win several medals. Hubert van Innis, from Belgium, is the most decorated archer in Olympic history, winning six gold medals and three silvers in 1900 and 1920. Second in the archery medal ranking is Kim Soo-Nyung, who competed in the 1988, 1992 and 2000 Games and won four Olympic titles, one silver and one bronze medal.

Key facts

  • MUNICH 1972: Archery returns to the Olympic Games after a 52-year hiatus.
  • MONTREAL 1976: USA take second consecutive clean sweep of available medals (two).
  • MOSCOW 1980: First non-USA champions since re-introduction – TOMI POIKOLAINEN, KETO LOSABERIDZE
  • LOS ANGELES 1984: Darrell Pace wins second individual Olympic title.
  • SEOUL 1988: Team competition introduced.
  • BARCELONA 1992: Head-to-head competition introduced.
  • ATLANTA 1996: 54,680 spectators. Archery coverage won the IOC’s Golden Rings Award for the best Olympic sport coverage.
  • SYDNEY 2000: Purpose-built venue. Men and women’s competition held on separate days.
  • ATHENS 2004: Archery held in Panathinaiko Stadium, the venue for the first modern Games in 1896.
  • BEIJING 2008: Two archery arenas, hosting matches side-by-side.
  • LONDON 2012: Set system introduced to individual competition. Over 60,400 archery tickets sold, spectator satisfaction rating of 98% and archery made a core sport in the aftermath.
  • RIO 2016: Set system introduced to team competition. Korea win all four medals for the first time.

Olympic Quotes

Jim Easton, World Archery President, during Athens 2004: “I think we had the best venue of them all. The staging of our sport in such a historic place certainly added something very special. The Olympic Games, in themselves, are already a unique occasion for an athlete, so adding this extra dimension of being able to compete in this beautiful marble stadium where the first Games of the modern era took place – well, you could say it marks yet another place in history, one which I am sure each athlete treasured.”

“And no doubt it was very special for the spectators, both on-site and watching on the TV networks around the world. I believe we were able to put on a show worthy of the venue – something which makes everyone very proud.”

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