Olympic champions and medalists in archery you should know about
In ancient times, martial prowess with the bow was a badge of honor marked by grim results – surviving a siege, surviving battles, and surviving in general. An archer worth anything could become a legend overnight with a single act of heroism as his or her story gets embellished in the retelling. The result is stories of archers who disabled whole navies with a single bow, engaged in battles with the gods, and shot suns out of the sky.
Fortunately, today’s archery is less intense, measured by bullseyes and point standings rather than enemies, and we can still enjoy watching the astounding skill level of archers from different countries using different archery equipment to hit their marks. And we can watch this live from anywhere in the world. This is reason to be excited about the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, which were postponed to this year (2021) for obvious reasons, particularly the archery competition. This article celebrates the champions among these competitors, detailing the exploits of the most prominent marksmen and markswomen in their respective fields.
Individuals to watch in the archery competitions
These names are the most prominent archers that will be competing in the upcoming Olympic games, sorted according to which type of archery equipment they use. It includes the odds-on favorites, but also the up-and-comers that have the potential to snatch gold from them and make their own mark on history:
- Brady Ellison, USA, Recurve Men – In what seems like ages ago, Ellison won bronze and silver medals in individual and team archery competitions at the 2016 Olympics. This was four years after winning silver at the 2012 Olympics. Ellison takes a lot of momentum into 2021, having won the World Championships in 2019, Ellison has dominated the field for years on the way to his number 1 ranking in the world, making him the favorite to win whichever competition he enters. In terms of accolades, an Olympic gold medal is the only one that has still eluded Ellison, giving the American archer extra incentive to perform well under the bright lights in Tokyo.
- Kim Woojin, Korea, Recurve Men – A living legend among Korean archers , Woojin is currently 5th in the world in recurve shooting. He has 5 world championships to his name, among countless other wins at the highest levels of archery competition. This includes a gold medal for the team competition in Rio during the 2016 Olympics. He maintains a strong chance of winning gold in Tokyo, having been the top qualifier among a talented field of talented Korean archers for the upcoming Games.
- Kang Chae Young, Korea, Recurve Women – Chae Young takes a number 1 ranking among recurve women into the Tokyo Games. Just 24 years old, she already has over 20 medals at the world championship level, and looks to solidify her place as one of the best archers in competition history with her first Olympic gold in 2021. Kang builds off the momentum of four consecutive gold medals in 2019 competitions, when she dominated the competition throughout the year.
- Deepika Kumari, India, Recurve Women – The 26-year-old Kumari represents the next ‘youth movement’ in archery, ranking 3rd in the world in the recurve bow for women. She came into this year’s Olympics off a gold medal finish at the Archery World Cup in Guatemala, in April of 2021. Combined with strong showings in most of her previous events, Deepika is primed to take the proverbial torch from the incumbent stars.
Countries to watch in the team competitions of the 2021 Olympics
The following are the favorites to win the overall medal counts in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Though not as prestigious as the individual golds, team competition is nonetheless a sense of national pride, and an unspoken stamp of superiority that a country can boast about for at least the next few years.
- Korea – The amount of high-ranked individuals from Korea should give us a clue as to how Korea is likely to fare at the next Olympics. They have a good mix of experienced veterans who don’t shy from the limelight like Kim Woojin and Kim Jongho (Compound Men, 12th in World Rankings) and young, talented hopefuls like Kang Chae Young looking to make their marks on the biggest stage.
- USA – America remains a competitor in virtually every event at most Olympic games, and their high-ranking individual archers like Brady Ellison and Alexis Ruiz (Compound Women, 2nd in World Rankings) give the US a solid edge in both the individual and team events.
- Japan – This country’s individual accolades are nothing to write home about, with their best archers, medalists of previous Olympic games, ranking 34th (Takaharu Furukawa, Recurve Men) and 72nd (Ren Hayakawa, Recurve Women), respectively. However, this year’s Olympics will be in Tokyo, Japan, and if there’s any sport where practicing in the same wind conditions all year matters, it’s archery.
Archer rankings given in this article may change over time, so the current rankings can always be found here.