What is the Distance in Olympic Archery?

What is the Distance in Olympic Archery?

Olympic archery is a competitive sport, so many people wonder “how far are the Olympic targets?”. The Olympic archery target distance should be set at 77 yards or 70 meters away from the athlete. These circular targets are sometimes called butts and are positioned to the north of the archer.

In most cases, the butts are placed in a line four to six yards apart. Flags are placed on every three butts in the line to indicate the direction of the wind. A 30 cm by 30 cm paper with a specific number is often hung at the bottom of each butte. The Olympic targets are 122 cm in diameter, and their dead center is 130 cm above ground level.

Additionally, the butt is often tilted backward by 15 degrees. In non-Olympic competitions, butt face sizes range from 40 cm to 80 cm. The athletes see different things as they draw the string and look through the sight.

You can only compete in the Olympics if you own a recurve bow. That means you might have to throw away your DIY bow and buy a recurve instead. Recurve bows are improved versions of bows that have been used since ancient times.

Recurve bows are characterized by curved limbs and a riser, which is where the archer grips the bow. There are recurves called Take-downs that have removable limbs that can be upgraded or replaced. During the tournament, an archer must hold the riser in their grip and draw the string back to their face. They must position their drawing hand under their chin as they aim.

Archers use the front sight to aim accurately, and the finger tab protects the finger from the string. An arrow rest helps them position their arrow before shooting. The archer aims to land his arrows in the scoring ring in the center of the target.

On the butt, there are 10 concentric scoring rings of five different colors. Every time an athlete strikes a ring, that ring is worth a specific number of points. If your arrow lands in the inner gold ring, you will receive 10 points.

If you hit the red ring, you score eight or seven points, and if you hit the blue ring, you score five or six points. The black offers you three points while the white offers one or two.

In most sports, there is a process that eliminates competitors at every stage until only a few teams or athletes are left to compete for the trophy


Tournament for the qualification stage

The qualification round requires you to shoot six ends of 72 arrows from a distance of 70 meters. You can achieve a maximum score of 720 on this round.

At the end of the round, the total scores of the athletes are added to rank them from one to 64, and then they proceed to elimination. There will be elimination matches between seeds, and the winner advances.

Stage of elimination/ Individual Competition

During the elimination stage, two athletes compete against each other, and the loser is eliminated. Eventually, only two athletes will compete for the gold medal after the winner advances to the next round.

However, the athletes that lost in the semifinals will contend for the bronze medal. During individual matches, the set system determines which athletes will proceed. During the elimination rounds, there are up to 3 sets of 6 arrows, while there are up to 5 sets of 3 arrows in the finals.

During the finals, each athlete is allowed to shoot three arrows; whoever scores the highest with their three arrows gets two points. When the two athletes tie, they each receive a set point. However, the first athlete to reach six points wins.


Team competitions are also held in archery, where each team has three athletes. These athletes should be from the same nation, as well as of the same gender. A team’s total score is used to rank its members from one to 12.

Following that, they are seeded according to their ranking and move on to the knockout stage. The team matches are decided by a set system.

This time there are six arrows in the set, not three. If your team wins a set, you get two points. If your team ties with the other team, each team gets one point.

Archery Categories

As defined by World Archery – the international governing body for the sport – the sport of archery is divided into three main divisions – target, indoor and field.

Target Archery

Target archery consists of shooting at stationary circular targets placed at specific distances.

In standard competition, archers shoot up to 70 metres (for recurve) and 50 metres (for compound). Archers aim at the five-color target, which consists of 10 scoring zones in gold, red, blue, black, and white rings.

There are 10 points for the innermost yellow rings and nine points for the red rings, six points for the blue rings, four points for the black rings, and one point for the white outermost rings.

Known as the most well-known form of modern archery, it is used at the Olympic Games and the World Archery Championships. It is also used to calculate the world rankings.

Indoor and Field Archery

The other two categories are indoor archery and field archery. In indoor archery, archers shoot at stationary circular targets from short distances (generally 18 metres) within a building.

From 1991 to 2018, the World Archery Indoor Championships were held, and since then, the Indoor Archery World Series has been organized. However, in field archery there are stationary circular targets of varying sizes, positioned at varying distances and angles around the course of a natural terrain.

It tests archers’ ability to judge distances, shoot uphill and downhill in varying light conditions. Archery field competitions take place every two years and are called the World Archery Field Championships. The championships were first held in 1969.

Kim Soo-Nyung is the most successful Olympic archer from South Korea. Her achievements at the Summer Games include one individual gold medal, three team gold medals, an individual silver medal and an individual bronze medal.

In the men’s division, Darrell Pace is the most successful archer, having won gold twice – in 1976 and 1984 – as well as a silver medal with the team.

The most successful nation in the Olympic Games is South Korea, with 27 golds, nine silvers, and seven bronzes. Since 1988, South Korea has won all gold medals in the women’s team event.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How many yards are shot in Olympic archery?

Ans: The equipment used in Olympic archery has undergone many changes, including the bows and arrows, clothing requirements, and rules. Today, the Olympic distance is 70 meters – about 76.5529 yards without sights; this distance is used in Olympic archery.

What kind of bows do Olympic archers use?

Ans: Although the Olympics only allow recurve bows, the Southwest Archery Spyder Takedown Recurve Bow is a preferred choice among top archers.

How do you describe a female archer?

Ans: The term “archeress” is defined in most modern dictionaries as a female archer. In spite of this, people in this line call themselves archers, regardless of their gender. The name Archer does not discriminate against gender.

What is the Olympic age limit for archery?

Ans: Archers must be 16 years old to participate in the Olympics, and there is no maximum age limit.

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