The Tokyo Summer Games are almost here! To get ready to watch the action, check out the below archery matches from previous Summer Games. Some of them feature historic moments and familiar faces that we’ll see again soon in Tokyo.
Chang Hye-jin (KOR) vs. Lisa Unruh (GER): Gold Medal Match, Rio 2016
The Republic of Korea archery team has been a titan in the sport for decades. It has won 39 Olympic medals and every women’s team archery competition since the introduction of the women’s team event at Seoul 1988. Chang contributed to that legacy by winning two gold medals at her first appearance on the big stage in 2016. Chang also has 15 World Cup stage wins under her belt. The 2016 Summer Games were also Unruh’s first appearance, and she was a terrific opponent, keeping each end within one or two points and winning the second end. Unruh will compete alongside her husband and fellow German archer, Florian Unruh, later this month in Tokyo. Florian will be competing for the men’s individual title.
Oh Jin-hyek (KOR) vs. Takaharu Furukawa (JPN): Gold Medal Match, London 2012
Oh and Furukawa made great opponents for each other during the London Games. Furukawa was enjoying his third appearance on the big stage, and Oh was looking to make history; and historic it was. With his victory over Furukawa, Oh brought home Korea’s first men’s individual gold medal. The Republic of Korea had held gold titles in all archery events except for the men’s individual competition until that day. Oh and Furukawa will each be making an appearance in Tokyo, so perhaps we’ll see a rematch here as well. The Tokyo Games will be Furukawa’s fifth Olympic appearance.
Zahra Nemati (IRI) vs. Chunyan Wu (CHN): Gold Medal Match, Rio 2016
Nemati made history in 2012 when she became the first Iranian woman to win gold at either the Olympic or Paralympic Games. She won gold again at the 2016 Games and could possibly tie Paola Fantato of Italy for the most individual Paralympic archery gold medals. Fantato won gold in the women’s individual AR2 event in 1992 and the women’s individual W1/W2 event in 2000 and 2004. Nemati is devoted to advocating for disability and women’s rights and is the first UN Sustainable Development Goals Ambassador of Global Understanding.
Darrell Pace (USA) vs. Richard McKinney (USA): Gold Medal Match, Los Angeles 1984
Pace is the first archer to win an individual Olympic archery gold medal twice: once in 1976 and again in 1984. Pace broke five Olympic records during his two Summer Games. The gold medal match between Pace and McKinney was particularly exciting because the two archers had been each other’s biggest competition for years. Though they had a fierce rivalry on the line, Pace has been noted as saying he and McKinney were great friends outside of competition. The match ended up being a runaway with Pace staying ahead of McKinney the whole time and setting a new Olympic record.
Im Dong-hyun (KOR) vs. Rick van der Ven (NED): Round of 16, London 2012
Though not a medal match, the match between Im Dong-hyun of South Korea and Rick van der Ven of the Netherlands deserves a very honorable mention. Im broke his own world record during the ranking rounds of the 2012 London Games. He took home a bronze medal with the South Korean men’s team, beating Mexico in the bronze medal match. His achievements include multiple World Archery Championship and Asian Games gold medals, a gold medal from Athens 2004, a gold medal from Beijing 2008 and a gold medal from the Archery World Cup Finals. Im has less than perfect eyesight but required no corrective lenses to make great shots. When aiming at the target, he would rely heavily on instinct and form. He achieved an incredible feat in 2016 by qualifying for the Korean national team for the 14th consecutive year.
Archery targets have graced the big stage at the Summer Games for decades, and the above matches show just a snippet of all the great archery moments throughout the years. And we’re about to get another glimpse of some talented archers from all around the world later this month!
The Paralympic archery competition will be held Aug. 27 to Sept. 4 at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo. Visit the Tokyo 2020 website for more information.
Watch out for our “Spectator Guide” coming later this month for more details on how and where to watch the archery competition.