On the day of the Opening Ceremony South Korean archer Kim Woo-jin set a new world record for the men’s recurve. 700 points out of 72 shots. Not a single shot was worse than 9 points, most of them were clear 10’s. It was the first world record of the Games. And the Games hadn’t even started yet.
Archery was one of the first events I watched at both the Athens and London Olympics. To be honest, I did not really choose it because I wanted to cheer for any particular archer. In fact, I didn’t know any of them by name. No, I chose it because of the venues…
In recent Olympiads, the organizers had a tendency to choose extraordinary locations and iconic landmarks for the archery competition. In 2004 I sat on the marble steps of the old Olympic Stadium of 1896 with a fantastic view towards the National Garden and the Akropolis.
And in 2012, the home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground, hosted the events. Especially the latter proved to be an ideal venue for archery and the setting with the archers standing in between the two stands for the audience was absolutely stunning. Archery is a calm and quiet sport with not so much fast paced action, but I think it was at Lord’s that I realized just how exciting it really can be.
Four years ago in London the Korean archers stood out among the heirs of Robin Hood, winning three of the four events. So, it isn’t really surprising that this year’s clear favourite is another Korean. After his world record and the gold medal in the team event, Kim Woo-jin will set his eyes on his next target, gold in the individual event on Friday.
But first the women will compete in the team event at the Sambodromo today, the latest of the iconic landmarks to host this sport.