The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games took place a year after they were planned.
The archery competition was held on July 23-31. One hundred and twenty-eight archers from fifty-one countries competed. In addition to the technical challenges an event of this level usually poses, Tokyo implemented unprecedented requirements regarding biosafety to protect all stakeholders against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Necessary measures were imposed to all participants regarding the use of face masks at all times but when straddling on the shooting line. COVID tests were administered daily to all involved, and movement out of the Olympic Village and hotels was strictly prohibited. The battle against the virus was victorious, as no positive cases were reported in the sport of archery.
The qualification round consisted of 72 arrows shot at 70 meters. Each archer was assigned to a different target to reduce distance between them on the shooting line.
The women’s round concluded with the three Korean archers in the top three spots: An San (680), Jang Minhee (677) and world record holder Kang Chae Young (675). They were followed by three archers from the Americas: Mexico’s Alejandra Valencia (674), the USA’s Mackenzie Brown (668) and the London 2012 silver medalist Aida Roman (665).
The men’s event was also dominated by the Koreans in positions 1, 3 and 4 by means of Kim Je Deok, Oh Jin Hyek and Kim Woojin. Only the current World Champion, Brady Ellison from the United States, managed to break Korea’s dominance by placing second with 682 points. Crispin Duenas (CAN), Andres Aguilar (CHI) and Luis Alvarez (MEX) also placed themselves in the top 20.
Twenty-nine countries fielded the combination of a man and a woman and were therefore ranked for the mixed team event. As expected, Korea delivered an overwhelming performance to set the first Olympic record in this mixed event with a score of 1368 points. The United States (1350), Japan (1343) and Mexico 1336 followed in positions 2, 3 and 4.
Only the top sixteen teams made the cut. The remaining three teams from the Americas ranked 17th (Canada), 20th (Brazil) and 26th (Colombia).
The 1/8 round produced an unexpected result with the elimination of team USA (Ellison and Brown) versus 15th seed Indonesia. Mexico managed to clear the 1/8 and 1/4 rounds with victories over Germany (6-2) and Great Britain (6-0). Alejandra Valencia and Luis Alvarez faced Korea in the semifinals and lost the match 1 to 5 set points. On the other side of the brackets, the Netherlands edged Turkey 19-17 in a shoot-off.
In the Bronze match, the Mexicans pulled themselves together after a bad second set to win the match and the third place. Korea beat the Netherlands 5-3 to take the first mixed team gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Twelve women’s teams qualified to compete in Tokyo; two of these came from the Americas: Mexico and the United States. The results of the ranking round placed them in second and third positions, with wonderful opportunities to fight for medals.
Our two teams did not need to shoot the 1/8 round and went directly to the quarter final matches. Mexico faced the German team, in a remake of the 1/8 match at the 2019 World Championships in which the Europeans were victorious and secured a team position at the Olympics. The Mexican team formed by Alejandra Valencia, Aida Roman and Ana Paula Vázquez did not shoot as expected and saw their medal hopes vanish with an adverse result of 2-6 set points.
Also unexpected was the result of the match between the United States and the team representing the Russian Olympic Committee. The Americans were not able to score a single set point and were eliminated from the competition.
As expected, the Korean team won their ninth consecutive Olympic title in the women’s team event since Seoul 1988. They were escorted by the teams of the Russian Olympic Committee and Germany.
Only one team from the Americas, the United States, qualified for the men’s team event in Tokyo. At the end of the ranking round, they were 5th on the results list, and were paired up with the French squad (twelfth and last position).
The match against the French team rendered an easy 6-0 win for the Americans. In the quarter finals they took on fourth seed Japan, but their scores were not as good as in their previous match, delivering set scores of 52, 53, 53, which allowed them to win one set point only. The United States had won Silver in London 2012 and Rio 2016, but in Tokyo they were stopped by the locals in the quarter finals.
First seed Korea won their three matches with astonishing set scores, including a perfect 60, to win the gold medal. Two other Asian teams: Chinese Taipei and Japan, claimed silver and bronze.
The 1/32 and 1/16 individual rounds were shot match after match on three consecutive days. Marcus D’Almeida and Ane Marcelle Dos Santos (Brazil), Aida Roman and Alejandra Valencia (Mexico), Crispin Duenas (CAN), Jacob Wukie, Casey Kaufhold, Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez, Brady Ellison and Mackenzie Brown (USA) made it through the first elimination round. Six of them won their 1/16 matches to secure shooting positions in the 1/8 rounds: Marcus, Alejandra, Crispin, Brady, Jacob, and Mackenzie.
The 1/16 round witnessed the elimination of three of the six Koreans. Kim Je Deok was upset by Germany’s Florian Unruh, Jang Minhee was defeated by Japan’s Miki Nakamura, while Oh Jin Hyek collapsed to India’s Atanu Das.
The two ladies from the Americas won their 1/8 matches and advanced to the quarter finals in which they faced each other. This match was expected to be a tough one between Alejandra Valencia y Mackenzie Brown. In three sets both archers shot the same score (27), which forced them to share the set points – one each. Valencia won a 30-27 set, while Brown took the last one 28-27. In the shoot-off, the American shot first, and scored a 10. The Mexican delivered a ten of her own, but it was further away from the center. Mackenzie Brown moved on to the semifinals, where she would face An San from Korea.
There was no doubt that the Korean was the strongest contender to the gold medal, much more so when her teammate Kang Chae Young had been defeated by Elena Osipova of the Russian Olympic Committee in the quarter finals. Mackenzie Brown shot amazingly, 29, 28, 28, 30 and 28 versus An San’s 28, 30, 30, 27 and 28. 5 points for each archer at the end of the five sets. A shoot-off was needed. The Korean shot the first arrow, and it was a 10 in the X-ring. It was hard to shoot an arrow any closer to the center. The American delivered a nine and would need to settle for bronze.
An San would shoot for gold versus Elena Osipova, who easily won her semifinal match over Italy’s Lucilla Boari (6-0).
Each match is a new competition, and predictions based on the results of a previous one are sometimes inaccurate and misleading. This was the case in the bronze match. Brown’s performance against the Korean and Boari’s zero set points versus the Russian proved wrong signs to predict the outcome of the battle for the third place. The Italian took advantage of the American’s low scores in sets 3 and 4 to achieve a 7-1 victory. An outstanding fourth place for Mackenzie Brown.
The gold match between Osipova and An San was a heart-breaker. The Russian led 5-3 after the fourth set, but the Korean shot 29 in the fifth one to force the match to a shoot-off. A ten by An San bestowed the crown on her, her third gold medal at the Olympics.
Three of our four 1/8 competitors were not able to win their matches and finally ranked in 9th position at the Olympics. This was, however, the best historical placing at the Olympic Games for Crispin Duenas (CAN), Marcus D’Almeida (BRA) and Jacob Wukie (USA).
World Champion Brady Ellison (USA) did advance to the quarter finals. He took on twenty-two-year-old Mete Gazoz from Turkey. Brady shot 26 points in two of his sets, 16 and these low scores caused him to lose the match 3-7. He finally ranked seventh, four positions lower than in Rio.
Two veterans and two very young archers moved on to the semifinals. The experienced ones, with two Olympic medals each, were Takaharu Furukawa (JPN) and Mauro Nespoli (ITA). They would face Gazoz and Taipei’s Tang Chih-Chun respectively. The young archer from Taipei, World Cadet Champion in 2017, had eliminated Kim Woojin, the only Korean left in competition, in the quarterfinals.
The two Europeans performed fabulously in their matches and secured spots in the gold match. Furukawa used his previous Olympic finalist background to achieve 29-28 wins in sets 4 and 5 over Tang. This awarded him a 7-3 victory and the bronze medal.
The field was ready for the gold match. Nespoli, shooting the heaviest bow in the competition, started off with an easy 29-26 victory in the first set. The ever-smiling Gazoz leveled the match in the third set (3-3). The fourth set was a draw at 29 each. The winner of the fifth set would be the Olympic Champion. Nespoli fired an 8, a 10 and another 8. Gazoz needed just an 8 with his last arrow to become Turkey’s first gold medalist ever in archery at the Olympics. He showed why he deserved to be the Champion when his arrow hit the center of the target. Olympic medals to Turkey, Italy and Japan.
Find complete Olympic Games results on Ianseo.