Tokyo Olympics archery in review: South Korea nearly sweeps

Posted at 8:21 AM, Aug 04, 2021

Coming into the Tokyo Olympics, South Korea had the most medals in archery with 39. The United States stood second, at 33.

South Korea added to that total in Tokyo, winning four of five events. The USA did not. 

That's the way things go sometimes. One arrow can be a 10 instead of a 9, and that's the difference. That's more or less what happened to Mackenzie Brown twice, once to advance and once to fall just short of the medals. Brady Ellison was looking for the only prize that has eluded him in his distinguished career, an Olympic gold, but was one of a couple of archers upset in the men's competition.

Aside from South Korea's haul of four medals, all gold, the podium places were scattered among eight countries.

SEE MORE: Archer An San wins third gold of Tokyo Games

Men's individual

Mete Gazoz didn't have any great results in world championships or the Olympics before Tokyo, but he was ranked in the top five. More importantly, he had two wins over Ellison en route to two World Cup wins. He made it three in the quarterfinals and went on to win.

Ellison, the world champion, wasn't the only favorite ousted in the quarterfinals. Two-time world champion Kim Woo-Jin also went out in the same round, leaving no South Korean archers in the semis.

The player who beat Kim, Chinese Taipei's Tang Chih-Chun, lost in the semifinals to eventual silver medalist Mauro Nespoli and fell in the bronze medal match to home-country favorite Furukawa Takaharu.

Nespoli and Furukawa were fourth and fifth in the 2019 World Championships. Nespoli also had a gold and a silver from past team events. Furukawa took silver in 2012 and had a nice run going in 2016 before running into Ellison.

Jacob Wukie, a 2012 team silver medalist who was returning after stepping away from the sport, won twice but had the misfortune of running into Ellison before Ellison ran into Gazoz.


Gold - Mete Gazoz (TUR)
Silver - Mauro Nespoli (ITA)
Bronze - Furukawa Takaharu (JPN)

SEE MORE: Ellison ousts teammate Wukie in men's archery Round of 16

Women's individual

An San, making her Olympic debut at age 20, made it nine out of 10 for South Korea women in this event. The only difference between this year and a typical Olympic competition was that South Korea only took one medal.

Brown nearly ended a U.S. medal drought dating back to 1976. She beat Mexico's Alejandra Valencia by hitting the inner ring in a shoot-off while Valencia hit a regular 10. In the semifinals, she went to a shoot-off again but this time shot a 9 to An's 10.

India's Deepika Kumari entered the Olympics as the top-ranked player in the world, just as she was in 2012. She fended off young American Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez in the second round but was shut out against An in the quarterfinals.


Gold - An San (KOR)
Silver - Elena Osipova (ROC)
Bronze - Lucilla Boari (ITA)

SEE MORE: USA's Mackenzie Brown eliminates two en route to last 16

Team events

These events are a little simpler. Set up the bracket, and South Korea wins.

Men's team: The U.S. had taken silver in two straight Olympics, upsetting South Korea in the 2012 semifinals. This time around, the team started with a 6-0 win over France but lost in the quarterfinals to Japan. South Korea had a tough time with Japan in the semifinals but prevailed 6-5, then swept Chinese Taipel 6-0.


Gold - South Korea
Silver - Chinese Taipei
Bronze - Japan


Women's team: The U.S. had a young team and lost 6-0 in the first round to eventual silver medalist ROC. At age 26, Brown was by far the eldest, playing alongside teenagers Casey Kaufhold (17) and Jennifer Mucino-Fernandez (18). The team lost in the first round, but perhaps the experience will pay dividends down the road and give the U.S. a solid foundation after Brown was the country's only representative in 2016. In any case, it would take a special effort to beat South Korea, which is nine-for-nine in this event. That said, Chinese Taipei beat South Korea in the 2019 World Championships, so ... maybe?


Gold - South Korea
Silver - ROC
Bronze - Germany


Mixed team: Archery joined the rush of sports expanding their offerings on the Olympic program by offering a mixed event. For the USA, Kaufhold got the call to play with Ellison after the pair won at the 2019 Pan Am Games and took silver in a World Cup stop the same year, but their high hopes were dashed with a first-round loss to Indonesia. South Korea had little trouble reaching the final and beat the Netherlands 5-3. Mexico convincingly beat every team it played except, of course, South Korea.


Gold - South Korea
Silver - Netherlands
Bronze - Mexico

SEE MORE: South Korean women win ninth straight team archery gold