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London Olympics Information » About the Olympics » Olympics 2012 Sports and Disciplines » Archery


Humans have used bows and arrows since prehistoric times as tools for hunting and gathering food and as weapons of warfare. It is believed that archery gained its significance as a sport in Medieval England, where competitions were held to keep the troops battle-ready even during peacetime. Although archery made its debut in 1900 and continued to be a medal sport till 1920, the competitions were organised without standardised rules, and each hosting nation followed its own format. As a result, archery was discontinued from the Summer Olympic Games after 1920. Henri Hérouin, a Frenchman, was the first winner of the 50 metre Au Cordon Doré event at the 1900 Paris Games.

Consequently an international body by the name Federation Internationale de Tir a l'Arc (FITA) was established in 1931 to formulate uniform rules for competitions. The sport was reinstated in the 1972 Munich Olympics after all countries approved the defined rules. The sport became a team event after the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

An archer scores points when he hits a target of five concentric coloured rings which are 122 cm and 80 cm in diameter. Competitors attempt to shoot the target from a distance of 70m. The objective is to fire the arrows closer to the centre of the target and gain a higher score. Modern day bows have evolved into space-age aluminium alloys and carbon fibre precision equipment designed to shoot aluminium and carbon graphite arrows.


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