Who was the best archer of the decade: 2010-2019?

Experts and analysts choose the best athlete of the 2010s.

The first year of this new decade – 2020-2029 – will see much of international archery’s focus drawn to the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

There’s also the underlying storyline of which of Brady Ellison and Sara Lopez will win their sixth Hyundai Archery World Cup Final. (Yes, we’re doing that again this year.) And then there’s the start of the qualification process for the World Games in 2021.

Ellison, Kang Chae Young, Braden Gellenthien and Alexis Ruiz finished 2019 ranked world number one.

And before we get started with 2020, we took the opportunity to reflect on a decade of archery and asked our roundtable of writers, bloggers and commentators who they thought was the best archer of the 2010s.

Vanessa Lee
Commentator

Best archer: Brady Ellison

Honourable mentions: Sara Lopez, Chang Hye Jin, Mike Schloesser

Over the past 10 years, Brady has won nearly every major competition out there – and he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

He finished off the decade with one of the most successful seasons of his career. He won his fifth Hyundai Archery World Cup Final and finally claimed the title of world champion.

Brady has also been incredibly influential in the archery community. Whether it’s his shooting style, equipment or training techniques, you can see archers young and old trying to emulate the world number one.

Even with all his accomplishments over the last decade, he’s still the same great, down-to-earth guy… with just a bit more facial hair than 2010! 

– Vanessa

Andrea Vasquez
Journalist

Best archer: Oh Jin Hyek

Honourable mentions: Sara Lopez, Brady Ellison, Ki Bo Bae

There have been archers – even within his own team – that have won more medals, have been ranked higher or been more consistent in securing major results over the last decade but nobody has had such a profound effect on the sport’s landscape as Oh Jin Hyek.

He was the first Korean man to win the Olympic Games when he took gold at London 2012. He medalled individually at two worlds – silvers in 2011 and 2013 – and competed at four championships in the 2010s. He also won the Archery World Cup Final in 2013.

The 38-year-old has done it with grit, an unorthodox style and a determination that has translated into unparalleled respect from his peers and contemporaries. And despite injury, fatigue and an already full cabinet of major trophies, Oh Jin Hyek refuses to give up. He’s giving it (at least) one more go – and remains in the running for selection to Tokyo.

– Andrea

John Stanley
Blogger

Best archer: Ki Bo Bae

Honourable mentions: Sara Lopez, Mike Schloesser, Brady Ellison

It seems a while ago now but Ki Bo Bae’s individual Olympic win in 2012 – along with team gold – sealed an already formidable reputation that persisted across almost 10 years of international competition.

She also came closer than many to the ultimate archery prize: retaining an Olympic title. (She finished third in 2016.)

With three Olympic gold medals, one bronze, the World Archery Champion title in 2015, two Universiade crowns and three Hyundai Archery World Cup Final wins, she is the most decorated recurve archer of her generation.

Immensely competitive, she also brought some much-needed star quality to the sport. Recent events suggest she may be thinking of retirement.

It will take a great deal for any Korean archer – or any other archer – to match her achievements.

– John

Dean Alberga
Photographer

Best archer: Brady Ellison

Honourable mentions: Mike Schloesser, Sara Lopez, Oh Jin Hyek

Brady won his first Hyundai Archery World Cup Final in   2010 and his fifth in 2019.

Over the course of the decade and in a circuit-style event that rewards consistency above all else, he’s won the biggest prize half of the times it has been contested in the 2010s.

The only person who matches that is Sara Lopez – but Brady’s also taken the world title.

There have been many fantastic archers and many impressive results. But Brady Ellison is the defining archer of the decade just passed.

– Dean

Chris Wells
Journalist

Best archer: Brady Ellison

Honourable mentions: Braden Gellenthien, Sara Lopez, Kim Woojin

Not only was 2019 a career year for Brady Ellison but the start of the last decade coincided perfectly with his emergence on the international scene.

He became world number one for the first time on 16 August 2010 and spent 120 weeks in the top spot during the decade. He’s still there now.

The five Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion crowns and the world championship victory in 2019 add to the case – but they are mere milestones for an athlete that has grown with the sport for 10 years.

There simply is no other choice.

Oh Jin Hyek and Ki Bo Bae’s victories at London 2012 were career-defining moments – but neither has had the longevity of Ellison. Albina Loginova was great early in the decade, as was Erika Jones – but Lopez has outshone them since she arrived on the scene in 2014. (Halfway through the 2010s.)

Gellenthien has won more medals – but not as many majors. Woojin had two world titles – but just lost his world record. And it’s Brady that’s deservedly taken it.

– Chris