If you live in the United States, or nearly anywhere in the world, you can watch archery’s World Championship finals this weekend, live on YouTube.
Watch Saturday’s finals here, starting at 8 a.m. EST:
And Sunday’s finals here, also at 8 a.m. EST:
Archery is way fun to watch. In fact, it was NBC’s most-watched sport during its first week of London’s Olympic Games coverage in 2012. And now World Archery is bringing archery to the masses with live streams and athlete interviews from its competitions.
This weekend’s tournament – formally called the World Archery Indoor Championships, or #WAIC2014, if you speak in hashtags – is held every other year. Here are a few things you should know to get the most from your archery viewing:
1. Going the Distance
In tournaments, archers always stand specific distances from the target. This makes it challenging and, of course, keeps it safe and fair, because every archer shoots from the same place. That distance is 18 meters (or about 20 yards) for indoor competitions.
2. Five Will Get You Ten
Here’s the thing: Almost everyone assumes it’s easy to hit the center of an archery target 18 meters away. But the target’s center, worth a perfect 10 points, is the size of a nickel. So it’s not so much a game of “hitting the target” as it is not missing. Ever. Shooting a “9” or an “8” is often the difference between winning a medal and going home empty-handed.
3. The Competition: It’s Hot
These are World Championships, so everyone brings their “A Game.” The U.S. Team alone features two Olympic medalists and eight World Champions. Multiply that by 30 or so countries, and add dramatic stage lighting and big screens that show you shooting – and the atmosphere’s one big pressure cooker. Watch for Team USA to compete in six matches this weekend – in compound and recurve divisions.
4. The Set System
In archery, you win tournaments by shooting elimination-round matches against other archers. Matches work a bit like tennis, using a method called the “set system.” Each archer shoots three arrows and then the arrows are scored. The archer with the higher score for that set wins two set points. If the scores are tied, each archer earns one set point. The archer losing a set earns no points. The match continues until one archer earns six set points, which is a win, or until the match is tied, 5-5. In tiebreakers, each archer shoots one arrow, and the archer with the arrow closest to the target’s center wins the match.
5. It’s a Gold Rush
These are the World Championship finals. Each archer has won four matches against increasingly difficult opponents to reach the medal match they’re shooting this weekend. These are the world’s best archers, and they’re shooting for world titles and fat contingency checks from sponsors. Even though cash, medals and world titles are on the line, you’ll still see smiles from these archers as they do what they love most: shooting bows and arrows.