Introduction to Olympic Archery

Archery | Published: Mon 1 August 2016

Who: 128 athletes from 56 countries

What: Men’s and women’s team and Individual

Where: Sambodromo

When: Days 1 - 7 (men’s and women’s individual ranking rounds actually take place before the opening Ceremony)

From tales of Robin Hood to ill-fated backyard attempts to imitate William Tell, most of us have some level of under-graduate knowledge of archery’s practice.


At Olympic level however, the stakes are much higher. Athletes stand 70m from the target and have 40 seconds to shoot their accompaniment of six arrows (20 seconds to shot three in finals) over 12 rounds. Scores are then tallied (from 10 points for a bullseye ranging to one point at the lowest hit) with the highest aggregate score progressing to the next round. The same rules apply for team events, with the exception being, that three archers compete per nation, rather than the one, in individual matchplay.  


Archers at Olympic level, shoot a recurve bow, consisting of two limbs, a handle and a bowstring. The sport made its Olympic debut in Paris, back in 1900, with women’s competitors joining four years later as the sport gained in popularity at the 1904 St Louis Games.


The Republic of Korea has been the most dominant nation in archery in recent history, with the country having won medals at each of the past eight Olympic editions, including 11 of the past 16 gold medals since Atlanta 1996.


Archery at the Rio Olympics will be hosted in Sambodromo – which is an area of Brazil better known for hosting the world famous Carnival celebrations. In August however, the festival zone will become a study of precision and concentration, with colourful, fruit laden hats less likely to appear in the crowds.



Simon Fairweather became Australia’s first medallist in the sport in Sydney 2000, when he claimed gold at a packed Homebush Bay. Tim Cuddihy added a bronze medal four years later in Athens, but Australia has not since achieved a medal at Olympic level.


Australia qualified a men’s team for Rio, but only one spot in the women’s competition. In all, there will be four Aussies competing in Rio.  

Western Australia will boast two of those four, with Taylor Worth set to contest the team and individual, whilst Alice Ingley will represent Australia as the sole female athlete on the team.


Worth defeated world number one Brady Ellison in finishing ninth in London on his Olympic debut at Lord’s. For Ingley, she will appear at Olympic level for the first time, having narrowly missed selection four years ago.


To follow WA’s archers, view their bios below, including information on when they are in action in Rio.