Archery Facts

Archery became an official event of the modern Olympic Games in 1900. It was discontinued in 1924 due to a lack of international rules, but it was reintroduced in 1972 for the Munich games. It may not have to be said, but the sport of archery demands accuracy. The 10-ring target face for 90 meters is just 4.8 inches in diameter. Imagine standing on the goal line of a football field and hitting an apple under the opposite goalpost! The entire target at 90 meters compares in size to the head of a thumbtack held at arm's length.

Although many are small in stature, archers are not limited in terms of strength and stamina. The average draw weight of a man’s bow is 50 pounds. In an average tournament, the bow is lifted and drawn more than 312 times for a total of 15,600 pounds (7.8 tons!) pulled over four days. Women pull about 5.3 tons with their 34 pound average bows. To put this in a different perspective, the world's strongest weightlifters lift up to 3,000 pounds (1.5 tons) in a tournament.

Historians believe people have been using bows and arrows for at least 25,000 years, possibly longer, based on arrowheads discovered in Africa.

Remember the story of how Robin Hood won an archery tournament by firing his arrow straight down the shaft of his opponent’s? To this day, people still call the occurrence a "Robin Hood."

The first compound bow was made around five hundred years ago.

Archers in most competitions, including the Olympics, must engrave their initials on their arrows.

Archery is a thriving sport and hobby and is the national sport of the Kingdom of Bhutan. Archery is safer than any ball-based sport. Injuries occur in less than one out of every 1,000 people who participate in the sport. By contrast, football, baseball, basketball and soccer all result in between 10 and 25 injuries per 1,000 participants.

The oldest know arrowheads date back to before 25,000 B.C. in Africa, where scientists believe that bows were created as an alternative to the original spear- throwing mechanism. The first composite bow dates back to 2,800 B.C. in Egypt. It was built out of wood and the arrowhead was made of animal horn. It was held together by sinew and required two people to string it. In 2001, nearly twice as many adults as youths participated in USA Archery competitions.

Today, the numbers are reversed; USA Archery youth divisions are now its largest - double that of adults - with the 15- to 17-year-old "cadet" division leading the pack in the last two years.