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Archery: Korea, the modern masters


The Korean women set a world and Olympic record on the way to winning the Gold medal in yesterdays team event continuing their domination of women’s archery and making history by winning their sixth consecutive Olympic Gold medal at the Olympic Green Archery field. Korea led China by two points at the conclusion of the first end and then continued to increase their lead throughout the remainder of the final winning the game by 224 vs 215. With this win the Korean team entered the top 10 of longest winning streaks in any Olympic team event. The longest winning streaks are held in Athletics by the US Mens 4x100 relay and the US Men’s Eight in rowing, which both won eight times in a row between 1920 and 1956.

Dod father, son and daughter
The early days of Olympic archery were marked by inconsistent rules and participation – in St Louis in 1904 there were only Americans in the field. Four years later in London, Willy Dod, whose ancestor Sir Anthony Dod of Edge had commanded the English archers at the Battle of Agincourt, was triumphant in the men’s competition, and when his sister Lottie took silver in the women’s, they became the first brother-sister medallists in Olympic history. Lottie, incidentally, had already won five Wimbledon tennis titles, the first aged 15, and to this day she is still the youngest-ever singles champion there.

Modern era
After 1920 archery disappeared from the Olympic programme and did not reappear until 1972, the start of the modern era dominated by South Korea who have won 25 medals in this period, nearly twice the number of their nearest rivals the USA. Three of those individual medals belong to Kim Soo-Nyung who, with three team gold medals as well, is the leading medallist in modern Olympic archery.

Kim Soo-Nyung
As a 17-year-old, Kim won the gold medal on home territory at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and followed it up with silver four years later. Then aged 21, she retired, married and raised two children, returning to competition for the 2000 Games in Sydney where she completed her set of individual medals with the bronze.

First for Indonesia
Back in 1988 the unheralded Indonesian team earned their nation’s first-ever Olympic medal by defeating the US in a shoot-out. “It is a silver, but for us it is more than one hundred golds, it is more even than a gold mine,” said their coach Donald Pandiangan. Meanwhile four years earlier, in Los Angeles, finishing in 35th place in the women’s individual event was Neroli Fairhall who competed while seated in a wheelchair. Paralysed from the waist down after a motorbike accident, she was the first paraplegic athlete to take part in the Olympic Games.


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