Easier than last time, says London Champion Italy

20 September 2015
Rio de Janeiro (BRA)
Italy’s recurve men’s team beat the USA in the final of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

At the Aquece Rio test event for the 2016 Olympics, the two teams faced off again – and for the first time internationally since that match in Lord’s Cricket Ground – this time in the first round of the recurve men’s competition.

Returning from the 2012 Games: Italy’s Mauro Nespoli and Michele Frangilli, and Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski for the States.

(David Pasqualucci was in Rio instead of Italian 

The Italian team led for much of the gold medal final in London, enjoying a four-point buffer until at least two-thirds of the way through. The match was decided using the 24-arrow cumulative score system.

Over the closing nine arrows, the USA men closed the gap, until Frangilli took to the line to shoot the Italian’s last arrow, needing a 10 to beat the States’ 218-point total.

Michele did his job, letting his arrow fly within time. It landed just inside the 10-ring at 10 o’clock, to the left in the central ring. Its position didn’t matter, but the score did: Italy’s total was pushed to 219, one point more than their opponents and enough to become Olympic Champions.

“It was a little easier this time around,” joked Frangilli after the first round match at the test event for Rio 2016.

Except this time around, the roles in the match were reversed.

The USA won the first set, 54-53, then the teams split the second at 54 points all. With the States leading, Italy found the middle and won the third with 56 points for six arrows.

The match level, Italy was tighter through the opening salvos of the last set and Frangilli took to the line, once again, to shoot Italy’s last arrow with a chance to secure a win. This time around he needed just a six.

He put in an eight.

At London, the Italian team celebrated – they’d won Olympic gold after all – while in Rio it was a grimace at a tough opening clash successfully navigated.

Most of the Italian’s post-match comments were reserved for the tricky conditions on the field of play. The wind had picked up to its highest level throughout the competition week, and it was affecting the athletes’ arrow flight.

“In London there were flags above the spectators,” explained Nespoli, saying the flags helped the team understand the flow of wind through the stadium.

Frangilli added that he expected there to be more wind indicators available on the field once the venue was made ready for Gamestime.