ARCHERY: Get To Know The The Red-Hot Sport That's Going To Be The Curling Of The Summer Olympics

Olympic archery

Photo: YouTube via facetofaceshooting

The 2012 London Olympics are right around the corner, with the Games set to begin in late July.The world’s best athletes will be competing in 302 events in 26 different sports, ranging from canoeing to basketball to judo.

In the weeks leading up to the opening ceremony on July 27th, we’ll introduce you to some of the more obscure Olympic events, beginning with archery.

Archery was first included as an Olympic sport at the 1900 Paris Games. It was absent from 1924 to 1968, but returned in 1972.

There are two events for men and two for women. The United States leads all countries with 31 medals overall, but South Korea has the most gold medals, with 16.

At the 2012 London Games, the archery competition will take place at Lord's Cricket Ground. The events start July 27th and run through August 3rd.

There is an individual event and a team event. In the team event, the three best archers from each country are grouped together and they each get an equal amount of shots.

The rules are fairly simple. Archers stand 70 meters (roughly three-quarters of a football field) from a 122 centimeter wide target with 10 concentric scoring zones.

A bulls eye is worth 10 points, and each zone away from the bulls eye is worth one point less. The outer ring is worth 1 point.

The archer has 40 seconds to aim and fire each arrow.

Archers are seeded in a preliminary round, where each athlete will fire 72 arrows.

An archer that makes it to the finals of the individual competition will take 72 shots in all, meaning a perfect score for the competition is 720.

A 720 has never been achieved in the Olympics yet. The record for men is 684, and the record for women is 673.

The top 64 seeds are then placed in a tournament-style bracket featuring one-on-one elimination matches.

The one-on-one matches are broken down into five sets, with each archer firing three arrows per set. Two points are awarded for a set win, one point each for a tie.

Team events are simpler, with each country's group of three firing 24 arrows each. The score of each arrow is added up, and the country with the best cumulative score advances.

A modern recurve bow is used, and archers are allowed to use simple bow sighting devices, which do not have lenses or any kind of magnification device.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for archers is compensating for wind, as even the slightest crosswinds can cause an arrow to miss the target completely.

Now see how some Olympians are preparing for London.

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