Archery is one of the oldest arts still practiced today. Although its history probably dates back much further, the ancient Egyptians are the first people known to have used bows and arrows for hunting and warfare at least 5000 years ago. The modern history of the sport goes back to 16th century England when King Henry VIII founded the country’s first club and the first known organized competition was held.
Archery was first included on the Olympic program at Paris 1900 and again at St. Louis 1904, London 1908 and Antwerp 1920. The events varied from Games to Games as international rules had not yet been developed. This disorganization led to archery being kept off future Olympic programs. It wasn’t until the international governing body was founded in 1931 that standardized rules were implemented. By 1972 enough countries had adopted the international rules and archery was reintroduced to the Olympic Games in Munich with individual events for men and women. The team events were added at Seoul 1988. Archery was first included at the Pan American Games in 1979.
Archers at the Pan American Games shoot recurve bows, a type of bow that must have a single string. It may have a mechanical sight (but no optical enhancements) and a variety of stabilizers and/or weights attached to it which help balance the bow in the archer’s hand and absorb vibration when the string is released. Arrows are customized to each archer and made of carbon or carbon aluminum. Modern bows are made of state-of-the-art materials such as aircraft aluminum and/or carbon composites.
The paper target, 122cm in diameter, is attached to an Ethafoam buttress and placed 70m from the shooting line. Targets are divided into five coloured rings (gold, red, blue, black, white) of equal widths (12.2cm) with each ring further divided in half to create 10 scoring zones. Shots landing in the inner gold ring are worth 10 points, with values decreasing by one point for each zone away from the centre, leaving the outer white ring worth one point.