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US Archers Take Aim At Olympics In Rio - All Things Archery

The Olympic Games are starting! The greatest sporting event on Earth is just days away and leading the pack of outstanding Olympic sports is none other than ARCHERY.

Scheduled at the start of the Olympic Games from Aug. 5-12, this fascinating showcase of nerve and accuracy will pin 128 archers in head-to-head matches as well as team elimination rounds. There is so much to enjoy about archery in the Olympics but before you tune in, let’s get to know the team of archers representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games.


Meet Team USA

The U.S. Archery Team:

• Brady Ellison — Currently ranked the second best archer in the world, Ellison, 27, will compete at his third Olympic Games in Rio. He was a member of the team that won a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games and has medaled in six World Cup Championships, five of them gold and most recently broke the national 70m record at Outdoor Nationals. Brady started shooting a compound bow when he was 7 in Glendale, Arizona, and grew up an avid Bowhunter before switching to recurve in his teens. He has visited Yankton for various archery tournaments and makes a point of bow fishing every time he is in town.

• Zach Garret — Competing in his first Olympic Games at the age of 21, he has had a distinguished archery career since he started shooting at 8 years old in the local 4-H program in Wellington, Missouri. Since then, he has gone on to medal at three World Cups and a silver medal at the 2015 World Archery Youth Championships hosted right here in Yankton.

• Jake Kaminski — Part of the silver medal team at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Kaminski has been an enthusiastic archer since the age of six in Elma, New York, and also started as a compound archery until his teens when he decided to try recurve. Since he started competing internationally, Kaminski has earned an impressive 14, World Cup, World Championship and world ranking tournament medals.  He recently visited Yankton for Field Archery Nationals, winning third and making his third national team for World Field Championships.

• Mackenzie Brown — Enjoying an exceptional year and currently ranked the No. 4 best archer in the world, Brown, 21, has been dominating the Olympic qualifying process. She started out as a swimmer until she made the switch to archery at 13 years old in Flint, Texas. Since then, she has earned silver at the World Cup Indoor Finals in Las Vegas and Gold in both the team and individual World Outdoor Championships. Her list of accomplishments include a silver medal at the World Archery Youth Championships hosted right here in Yankton last summer.

Determining Champions at the Olympics

Archers competing at the Olympic Games shoot at a target that is 70 meters, about 77 yards, away at a 10-ring target face that is 4 feet wide. To offer a perspective, the highest ranked archers can shoot all their arrows within the two center gold rings measuring 8 inches. At 70 meters away, that 8-inch gold ring resembles the tip of a ballpoint pen held at arm’s length. The control and accuracy needed to compete at this level is remarkable and is tested from the start of competition to the end.

Archers will go through three phases of competition.

• Phase 1 — Qualifying Round:

There will be 128 archers shooting a 72-arrow qualifying, or ranking, round. Only the top 64 scores will be placed in brackets for elimination rounds. This qualifying round will also determine the ranking for team competition.

• Phase 2 — Individual Round

Archers that make this phase will compete in “Set Matches.” Archers will shoot three arrows per set for highest score. If an archer has the highest score, they earn two set points, if both archers tie, they each earn 1 set point. The first archer to earn six or seven set points wins the match and moves on. This is especially exciting because an archer that has a poor set can still come back and win the match; every three arrows is a new opportunity to fight for your win.

• Phase 3 — Team Round:

Countries that qualified a full team of three archers, men or women, have their qualifying scores accumulated and ranked for head-to-head team “Set Matches.” Each team will shoot six arrows (two arrows per archer) for highest score. The team with the highest score will earn two set points, a tied score earn each team one set point. The first team to five or six points wins the match. This round is especially exciting because archers only get two arrows per match to help their team win set points, so every single arrow is extremely important!

Every Olympic Games is an exciting one to watch. This year, the U.S. men’s team has their eyes set on the gold medal, having come so close at the last games against Italy. The venue is something special as well. They have built the archery range at the Sambodromo, the festival route for Rio de Janeiro’s world famous Carnival. For viewers, watching any Olympic sport can be an exciting experience: cheering on the best athletes representing your country is truly remarkable and inspires excellence and camaraderie in the spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, which is the goal of every Olympic Games.


Now that you are amped up to watch some highly competitive archery in August, you may first want to experience what it feels like to shoot a bow and personally understand how challenging it can be to shoot, especially at long distances.  

Stop out to the Easton Archery Center any day of the week and for $10 you can learn how to shoot, use our equipment and enjoy a day of archery. We also offer TRY archery classes on Saturday mornings from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. which will teach you the basics of safety, range rules and how to use the equipment for only $5.  

Don’t hesitate to stop out any time and just look around or ask questions. We are proud of all we have to offer the community (and the WORLD) when it comes to archery. If you are interested in learning more or having someone speak at your local service club or meeting, we would love to share our knowledge.  


Originally published in the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan. Written by Nancy Wenande.