Overview

Olympic archery includes five events:

  • Men’s Individual
  • Men’s Team Event
  • Women’s Individual
  • Women’s Team Event
  • Mixed Team Event (making its Olympic debut in Tokyo)

In archery, competitors shoot arrows at a target that is 70 meters away. The target is 122 cm in diameter.
Competitors earn points based on where their arrow lands on the target. The rings are outlined as follows:

Archery target

In the event that competitors are tied in points, the competitor whose arrow is closest to the gold X in the center is declared the winner.

All five archery events begin with the same ranking round. This round is used to seed athletes for the five medal events. In the ranking round, athletes are competing for total points. In other stages of the competition, athletes compete in a head-to-head set format (similar to tennis).

Ranking Round

  • 128 archers (64 men and 64 women) compete in this preliminary phase
  • The ranking round is used to determine seedings for both the individual and the team competitions. In the ranking round, archers shoot 72 arrows at a target 70 meters away in 12 ends (groupings) of six arrows each. A perfect score is 720.
  • Each athlete has two minutes to shoot six arrows in each end.
  • These rankings are used to seed competitors in the next stage of competition

Individual Events

At the start of the individual events, athletes are seeded into a single-elimination bracket using their score from the ranking round. The #1 archer from the ranking round competes against #64, #2 against #63, and so on.

In each match, athletes compete head-to-head in a best-of-five set (or “end”) format (similar to tennis).

In each set, both athletes shoot three arrows each. The athlete with the highest score at the end of each set gets two points. If a set is tied, both athletes receive one point.

The first athlete to reach six points (i.e. win three sets) wins the match.

The winner of each match progresses to the next round of the bracket until the two finalists compete in the gold medal match. The losers of the two semifinal matches compete for bronze.

In this single match play with alternating shooting, the higher ranked athlete will decide the order of shooting in the first end; the athlete with lower set points will shoot first in the next end.

Tiebreaking

If at the end of five sets there is a tie, a single arrow shoot-off is held.

The athlete who was ranked higher and shot first in the first end will shoot first to begin the shoot-off. The athlete closest to the center X wins.

If both athletes shoot a 10, another shoot-off is required; if no winner is decided, the process repeats until a winner is named

Timing

In each end, an athlete has 20 seconds to shoot their arrow when it’s their turn.

Team Events

Each single-gender team consists of three athletes. At the start of the single-gender team events, teams are ranked 1-12 based on the combined scores of the three archers during the ranking round. The top four teams receive a bye to the quarterfinal round and are seeded into a single-elimination bracket, while the remaining eight teams compete for a spot in the quarterfinal round.

Using the single-elimination bracket, teams compete in head-to-head matches. Each match is a maximum of four sets with six arrows per set (two per athlete).

Each team is allotted two minutes to shoot an end of six arrows.

Scoring

  • By winning an end of six arrows, the team receives two points
  • If both teams earn the same score, both teams earn one point
  • The first team to win five set points wins the match

Mixed Team Event

Each mixed gender team consists of one man and one woman. At the start of the event, teams are ranked based on the combined scores of the two archers during the ranking round. Teams are then seeded into a single-elimination bracket.

Once seeded into the bracket, teams compete in head-to-head matches.

Each match is a maximum of four sets with four arrows per set (two per athlete).

Timing

Each team is allowed 80 seconds to shoot four arrows.

Scoring

  • By winning an end of six arrows, the team receives two points
  • If both teams earn the same score, both teams earn one point
  • The first team to win five set points wins the match

Tiebreaking

If it is tied on four set points (meaning the teams have scored the same in a single set), then there is a shoot-off of one arrow per athlete; the team with the highest score wins the match.

If no winner can be decided from this one arrow per athlete shoot-off by deciding which team’s arrows are closest to the center of the target butt, then the next closest arrows will be examined; if there is still no winner, the process repeats itself.

More information:

Official Tokyo site – Archery

Team USA – Archery 

World Archery Federation