The International Olympic Committee has announced that archery will receive a fifth medal event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with the recurve mixed team competition added to the existing program of men’s and women’s individual and team events.
Mixed team competition features pairs of athletes, one woman and one man, from the same nation, competing head-to-head in set system matchplay similar to the team event.
No additional athlete places will be added, the cap remaining at 128 in total (64 men and 64 women), and no additional facilities will be required. Meanwhile, the additional event, which embodies the gender balance inherent in archery as a sport and at the Games, will offer an opportunity for nations that may not have qualified the full six-athlete quota to compete for an additional medal.
Since the mixed team competition was officially introduced to the World Archery Championships at Turin 2011, six different teams have taken the nine available medals.
At Rio 2016, pairs from 24 nations would have been eligible to compete in a mixed team event.
The mixed team format was also successfully tested at both past editions of the Youth Olympic Games, first in Singapore and then in Nanjing, and will feature in Buenos Aires in 2018. This version of the event also mixes athletes of different nationalities – and has been positively received by both athletes and the International Olympic Committee.
World Archery President Prof Dr Ugur Erdener said: “The mixed team event has proved an excellent addition to international competition since its inception in 2011 and I’d like to thank IOC President Thomas Bach and my colleagues on the Executive Board for recognizing the value it brings to the Olympic Games.”
“Mixed team competition echoes the balanced nature of the sport, reflecting the 50-50 split of men and women in the archery competition at the Olympics, and the parity in level between the world’s best men and women in competition.”
“We’re also incredibly excited that archery’s athletes will have the opportunity to contest a fifth gold medal in 2020.”
Archery was featured on the Olympic Program in 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1920 before becoming a permanent fixture in 1972.
Two medals, in men’s and women’s individual competitions, were contested until 1988, when the two team events were added. Changes since then have revolved around competition format, with head-to-head matchplay beginning in 1992 and the set system introduced for individual matches in 2012 and team in 2016.
Archery at Rio 2016 recorded a 50% increase in average audience compared to London 2012, a higher-than-average approval rating among young people and 44% more social conversation than the average sport on the program.
A total of 334.4 million people watched archery on television at the last Olympic Games.
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