Olympic Archery Aftermaths
Now that the archery is done for this Olympics, the results are in the books and the celebrations/commiserations are over … what can we takeaway from this showcase of our sport?
Korea’s 4 Gold Haul: In the main this was the An San show. Dominated ranking with a new Olympic record. Disposed of pre-competition favourite Deepika Kumari 6-0 in the quarters. Won a shoot off in the semi’s verses America’s Mackenzie Brown then won another against the Russian Elena Osipova for the Individual ladies gold. In the ladies team event Jang Minhee, Kang Chaeyoung and An San were beyond dominating to take the team gold. Finally, in the mixed team event An San and Kim Je Deok took the gold with some resistance from the rest of the world but gold still went to Korea. An delivered a superlative performance over the entire event. Totally money and unflappable when the chips were down.
In the gents team, Japan gave the Koreans a run for their money but in the end the three Korean men were just too strong collectively where individually they were a little lacking against the best of the rest of the world. Disappointment no doubt it wasn’t 5 golds but the Koreans still go home job well jobbed! Note: Everyone came home with a Gold!
China: Pre competition we marvelled at just how much effort the Chinese were putting into selection. 20 days continuous competition to select the team! It was unprecedented. These archers must have ice in their veins and be stoic lumps of granite! But the Chinese seemed to burn out or perhaps wilt under the pressure. Was too much pressure brought to bear in the selection process leaving them mentally exhausted? Hard to say but the Chinese will be extremely disappointed in their performance which may require a major rethink. Something to watch come World Cup time next year.
Journalists: Pre Olympic hype had Deepika Kumari all but enthroned as the Olympic champion before an arrow was shot. It was the story that journalists wanted to tell – rags to riches, success rising from a chaotic federation, husband and wife Olympians compete together – it looked like Pulitzer Prize winning material. This conflicted rather obviously with the bookmakers odds that had all three Koreans ahead of Kumari. She looked strong early on ranking 9th but lost her quarterfinal match in the women’s individual event to top seed An San 0-6. Lesson we can take away from this … journalists don’t know as much about archery as bookies. (Ed: Am going to head down to BetFred later for some coaching! ;o)
Hoyt: After the failure of the bottom limb (perhaps twice) of Finn Antii Vikstrom, Hoyt have a PR situation on their hands. Normally any success in a big competition would be used as part of a major ad campaign … “Hoyt congratulate xxxxx on their medal win using our kit”. However if they try to celebrate their archers successes at the Olympics, the limb failure is going to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind and no doubt raised. That would be uncomfortable. How Hoyt deal with this will be interesting. Open and transparent OR head in sand til incident forgotten? Any analysis of the delaminated limb would be required reading by bowyers. Was it fatigue, external influence like heat/damage or was it design/manufacturing flaw? I doubt we mere peasants will ever see anything of that commercially sensitive information unless it completely vindicates Hoyt!
Update: Hoyt seems (as far as we can see) to have taken the silence route with little advertising out with their usual awareness ads.
And finally …
How does the Olympics affect we archers/members of AGB?: Its going to be all about did the UK do as well as was anticipated? If we did as well as expected or better, future funding to AGB will be either the same as before or higher. If we didn’t make expectations, funding will be cut. That’s the reality of Olympic funding in the UK. Its a harsh but very effective strategy witnessed by our 65 medals at Tokyo (22 golds, 21 silver, 22 bronze). If funding is cut AGB fees will go up to try to cover the short fall. Post Covid this could be a disaster as archer numbers are already falling and raising the price of “admission” to clubs would be suicidal. However the funding for the elite team needs to be found somewhere and public money is tight in our pandemic affected economy. Something for us all to watch and be aware of in the coming months or indeed year.
* * *
Images used for the purpose of reporting. No ownership is implied.