Archery guide - London 2012 Olympic Games

Your complete guide to archery ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

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Photograph: Archery via Shutterstock


Converted: An ancient art dating back to the Pharaohs, once a vital means of survival and battle, enacted on the modern stage by bowmen with breathtaking powers of concentration and accuracy.

Confused: People standing still for ages, repeatedly firing arrows at the same round thing. Like darts without the larger-than-life characters.

RECOMMENDED: See our full list of London 2012 Olympic sport guides

Archery - The essential guide

Street cred: Today's pros could shoot apples off the top of children’s heads from several blocks away, although they would not be allowed to for health and safety reasons.

Who’s good? South Korea and China bagged most of the medals at Beijing 2008.

The basics: The archer fires an arrow at a multi-colored, ringed target from 70m away, winning more points the closer to the center it lands.

Athlete to watch: South Korea’s Im Dong-Hyun is one of the world’s top archers despite the fact that he is legally blind. Jedi skills.

As seen in: ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ (1991). You know it’s true...

Not to be confused with: Prose written in the style favored by novelist Jeffrey Archer.

Almost useless fact: Archery is also known as toxophily.

Do say: ‘I expect the British toxophilites to perform better than their disappointing show in Beijing, especially with the extra millions plowed into the team.’

Don't say: ‘You’ll poke someone’s eye out with that.’


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