South Korea’s Olympic Records in Womens Archery | The Olympics On The Record
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South Korea’s Olympic Records in Womens Archery | The Olympics On The Record

August 12, 2019

The ancient sport of archery has a fractured Olympic
history. It was included in
the Olympics of 1900. It was also one of
the first sports that women were allowed
to take part in. In 1908, Queenie Newall
was an icon of archery. She cleaned up
at the London Olympics. But after 1920,
there was nothing. There were too many
different rules. Each country had their
own ideas on how far the target should be, or how many arrows
someone should use. It was dropped entirely
from the Olympic programme. It wasn’t until 1972 that archery was
back at the Olympics. But with one key element
missing – South Korea. Korea had a rich history
of archery. The Chinese used to refer to
them as Dongyi-jok, which means “eastern tribe
with large bows”. Their version of the sport was not in line with
the modern form of archery. That changed in the 1970s
when student Kim Jin-ho won the country’s first
World Championship medal. It transformed the popularity
of the sport in Korea. Suddenly, more people than ever wanted to be involved
in archery. By 1984, the women’s archery
team was starting to resemble the form we know today. They took home their first
individual Olympic gold. In 1988, the team event was
added to the Olympics alongside the individual competition. That year, competing
in their home games, the Korea women took home
both golds. In 1992, two more. 1996? Yep, two more golds for Korea. In 2000, it wasn’t even
a contest. Another two golds. By 2004, if there were
any doubts about just how dominant
Korea were, they came to a head in a final that China thought
they had won, only for Park Sung-hyun to hit a perfect ten
with the last arrow and win the match by a point. Two more gold medals. How do they do it? Well, in Korea, they take
archery very seriously. It’s not just that Korean
children start learning archery earlier than most countries, or that they sign
for professional companies where their only job is
to play archery all day, but they also have some
of the most amazing ways to train in the world. A lot of archery comes down
to how you deal with pressure. When the crowd is baying down
on you, how do you cope? For the 2008 Olympics,
they went as far as replicating the stadium
archery was being held in, with crowd noises supplied
by a boom box. Before 2000 and 2004, they trained before
a baseball stadium with a full crowd
willing them on. But sometimes their coaches
take things even further. When gold medallist Cho
Youn-Jeong was asked how she kept
her nerves calm, she told reporters she used
to go for a long walk… night through a cemetery. Kim Kyung-wook was told by
her trainer to pick up a live snake and
lightly bite it. If it’s scary, Korean trainers
have probably already used it as a method to keep
their women focused. All that training is necessary,
the pressure can get to you. Ah. Gosh.
It’s harder than it looks. Oops. In Beijing,
for the first time since 1980, a non-Korean won the individual
gold in a major upset. There wouldn’t be an upset
in the team event. That meant that Korean women had taken home every gold
team archery medal ever. 2012, and once again,
they were in the final, and against a Chinese side that had lost out in
the last two Olympics, desperate for revenge. At the halfway point,
the teams were level. Then a lucky break for Korea – a close call on a nine
gets marked up to a ten. Korea take the lead. The final end approaches. China have a great round –
all nines. It’s all down to the three
athletes on the field now. Thousands of people watching
in the stadium. 50 million people in Korea
expecting you to win. Choi Hyeonju falters –
an eight. It all comes down
to this last arrow. Six gold-medal winning teams
before. Get another eight
and it will be deadlocked. Less and it will be a disaster.
The final arrow of their Olympics, four years working
towards this moment. Hit – it’s gold and glory. Miss – the first team
not to bring back gold. But Korea train for
just these moments. Seven golds from seven games
and the domination goes on. And all that training
proves its worth once again.

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  1. When are the Olympics going to get back to it's roots of amateurs and not paid professionals? I haven't watch them since they introduced they "pros". Looking forward to laughing when you decide to include "E-sports". LMAO

  2. It's impressive how Korea is dominating this sport for a long time. They take it very seriously from its roots and now enjoying a lot of fruitful result from various major events. Truly deserved 👏

  3. let's see if they can win and make those shots with the old types bow and arrows. not all these fancy equipment that almost makes it look like the bow is doing all the work. it takes the artistic look out of what i see as an elegant 'sport' (if we even wanna call it that).

  4. This is amazing. This is just pure dedication and sacrifice. It's not like they're doping. Like, what kind of PED advantage could there even be? Be more…focused-er??

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