When you think of the Medieval era and characters like Robin Hood, you could almost assume that archery has played a large role in competitive sports for centuries, especially the Olympics. Truth is, however, that the history of archery and the Olympics has been rocky, at best, until the 1970’s. Archery only appeared in four of the six Olympic games in the first two decades of the 20th century before disappearing completely for 52 years. It finally returned in 1972, and has been a staple ever since. Throughout the years, there have been a number of names that stand out. Here are some of the best:
Yun Mi-jin – Medal Count: 3
Yun Mi-jin, of South Korea, was born in 1983. She competed and won gold medals in the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. In 2000, she took the gold in the individual competition and the team competition. Yun also set the record and in 2000 (which she matched in 2004) for women’s 18-arrow match, at 173 out of 180.
Ki Bo-bae – Medal Count: 4
Ki Bo-bae, of South Korea, was born in 1988. She competed and won gold medals in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. In addition, Ki took home the bronze medal for individual competition in 2016. Her 2012 gold was won in a shootout with Mexican hopeful, Aída Román. Both archers scored the same, but Bo-bae’s arrow was closer to the target.
Park Sung-hyun – Medal Count: 4
Park Sung-hyun, of South Korea, was born in 1983. She competed and won gold medals in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. In 2008, her gold medal in the team competition was complimented by an additional silver medal in the individual competition. She holds the world record for women in a FITA (International Archery Federation) round with 1405 points. She previously held the world record for a 70m 72-arrow round, set during her gold medal match at the 2004 Olympics.
Kim Soo-nyung – Medal Count: 6
Kim Soo-nyung, of South Korea, was born in 1971. She competed and won gold medals in the 1988, 1992, and 2000 Olympics. In addition, she won the silver and bronze in 1992 and 2000, respectively, in the individual competition. After retiring from professional archery in 1992 to raise a family, she came back with the South Korean team in 2000 to medal in both the team and individual competition. Kim was declared Female Archer of the Twentieth Century in 2011 by FITA.
Hubert Van Innis – Medal Count: 9
Hubert Van Innis, of Belgium, was born in 1866. He competed and won gold medals in the 1900 and 1920 Olympics. He is often thought of as the greatest Olympic archer of all time. He was 34 years old at the 1900 Olympic Games, which were very different when it comes to modern archery. He continued archery his whole life, even winning the 1933 World Championships at the age of 67. In addition to his six gold medals, Hubert also took home three silver medals, one in 1900 and two in 1920.