Ku Bonchan completes 1st gold sweep in Olympic archery history
Korea’s Ku Bonchan survived a pair of shoot-offs in the quarter- and semifinals, then beat France’s Jean-Charles Valladont to Olympic gold in five sets, the last arrows of the Rio 2016 Olympic archery competition.
“I’m so happy tonight is beautiful,” said Ku. He dropped to his knees after winning gold: “It was the most respectful way to give thanks to the spectators who cheered for me.”
After winning his first two rounds in straight sets, Ku needed five sets to win each of the remaining four matches.
He won the first with a 10, the second with a nine.
Before the final, Ku’s coach, Park Chae Soon, was seen giving him stern instructions in the call room.
“He said, ‘you’re not focusing on your arrows, you’re thinking about the other guy’s arrows and the score. Just focus on what you do’,” Ku explained.
Ku jumped 4-0 up in the men’s Olympic final and then celebrated after the third set, when he looked to have taken a clean-sheet victory. But an arrow of Valladont’s was upgraded in score – it had just nicked the edge of the 10 on the left – and it gave the Frenchman a new lease of life.
Valladont won the fourth set – then shot a pair of eights in the fifth, which Ku capitalised on to take Olympic gold.
Ku Bonchan becomes only the second Korean man to win the Olympic title, after Oh Jin Hyek won in London in 2012. Ku’s win completed Korea’s first clean sweep of archery’s Olympic gold medals.
The Korean team came close in 1988, 2000, 2004 and 2012, winning three golds at each Games, but had never before walked away with all four titles.
Brady Ellison took bronze in Rio. He beat the Netherland’s Sjef van den Berg, 6-2 to the last spot on the podium.
It is his first individual Olympic medal, after being part of second-placed teams in both 2012 and 2016.
The archery competition Rio 2016 Olympic Games ran 5-12 August in the Sambodromo.