7 takeaways: Rio 2016 men’s team finals
The day after the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Rio saw archery award its first medal of the Games.
The Korean men put on a faultless performance, conceding not a single set in three matches on the way to Olympic gold ahead of an admirable USA team. Australia’s men’s team secured the nation its first medal of the Rio Games, as well as Australia’s first Olympic archery team podium, with bronze.
Here are seven quick takeaways from Saturday’s men’s team eliminations and finals in Rio…
Three matches, three times a 6-0 scoreline. It was the perfect journey for the Korean men on the first medal day at Rio 2016. Korea won their first two rounds, making short work of the Netherlands and Australia, to book a ticket into the Olympic gold medal match.
“They’ve got three really good archers, and they work really well together and they miss rarely,” said Dutch archer Rick van der Ven.
Even stronger in the gold medal final, Kim Woojin, Lee Seungyun and Ku Bonchan left no chance for a USA squad that shot a good match in itself. A perfect first set with six 10s to ensure the first two points and consecutive sets of 58 and 59 closed it in style.
“Korea just pretty much shot perfect and that’s hard to beat,” said Brady Ellison.
Jake Kaminski added that using the cumulative scoring that was in place in previous Games, their performance would probably have been a world record.
2. Straight sets
Besides Korea's perfect performance, two other matches were called in straight sets at the Sambodromo today.
China’s men upset the Italian Olympic Champions, 6-0, in their second match of the day, but were then beaten by the USA trio in the semis, and with the same score: 6-0.
3. bowing to the best
The USA bowed to their Korean opponents after losing the gold medal match, a poignant moment and a show of respect between the two best men’s archery teams on the field in Rio.
“Bowing is in their culture, they bow as we shake hands,” explained Jake Kaminski. “We respect them so much and they would always do the same for us.”
“We've learned a lot of their culture because we have a Korean coach as our national coach,” he added, referring to USA coach Ki Sik Lee.
4. The secret
Sjef van den Berg, the fourth-seeded individual archer in Rio, who was part of the Dutch team that lost to Korea in the quarterfinals, said he thought he knew the secret to the Korean’s success:
“I think they just have a better structure in their youth programme so they start off very young, and they educate them very well. That just makes all of the difference.”
5. First Olympic team medal
Australia had two Olympic archery medals in its trophy cabinet arriving in Rio – and both came in the men’s individual event. First was Simon Fairweather’s gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, on home soil, and second was Tim Cuddihy's bronze in Athens, four years later.
Alec Potts, Taylor Worth and Ryan Tyack wrote another chapter in the Australian archery team’s history at Rio 2016 when they beat China in the men’s team bronze medal match in the Sambodromo.
The Australian archers also started their nation’s medal count in Rio, taking the first of the Games.
6. early upset
Two arrows in the 10-ring… that was the best of Italy’s quarterfinal match.
“We had many arrows landing more in the left rather than in the 10. China found it, we didn’t,” London 2012 team gold medallist Marco Galiazzo summarised.
It was a surprise to see the defending Olympic Champion, Italy, seeded third in Rio after the ranking round, knocked out in three sets.
“I guess this is not a good day for us,” he added – but Galiazzo, who also won an individual Olympic title in Athens in 2004, preferred to look ahead: “It's not over yet. We still have individual matches and we’ll give everything.”
7. Valiant attempt
The Brazilian team was eagerly awaited by a sympathetic host crowd in the Sambodromo archery arena for the men’s team event.
Heading into Rio 2016, expectations were high for 18-year old Marcus D’Almeida, the silver medallist from the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games and Lausanne 2014 Archery World Cup Final.
The 11th-ranked team in the Rio event found its first-round step too high, as China – number three in the world and eventual fourth-place finishers – beat the hosts 6-2.
“I think this was our first Olympics, our first contact with the finals field, it scared us a bit and that’s what happened,” said D’Almeida.
Looking forward to the individual, the young Brazilian athlete added: “It helped us because it was a good experience. Now we know what to expect for the individual matches. We are okay.”